Naomi Osaka fined and could face French Open expulsion if media boycott does not end

·3-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka has been fined for not fulfilling her media duties at the French Open and faces potential expulsion from the tournament if she continues her boycott, all four Grand Slam organisers have warned.

Osaka caused controversy in the build-up to the latest edition of Roland Garros by revealing that she would not be taking part in any post-match press or news conferences during the tournament in a bid to protect her mental health.

The women’s world no2 did not speak to the media after Sunday’s straight sets win over Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig in round one, but did conduct a short on-court broadcast interview in front of a few hundred fans following the match on Court Philippe Chatrier.

Osaka has now been fined $15,000 (£10,570) for not honouring her contractual media obligations and warned in a joint statement from the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open that continuing to ignore them could result in further consequences for violations of the code of conduct.

Possible tougher sanctions listed include “default from the tournament” and the “trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions”.

“The mental health of players competing in our tournaments and on the Tours is of the utmost importance to the Grand Slams,” read the statement signed by Tennis Australia chair and president Jayne Hrdlicka, French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton, All England Lawn Tennis Club chairman Ian Hewitt and Mike McNulty, chairman of the board and president at the United States Tennis Association.

“We individually and collectively have significant resources dedicated to player well-being. In order to continue to improve however, we need engagement from the players to understand their perspective and find ways to improve their experiences. Every year we seek to deliver better experiences to our fans, our players and our people, and we have a long and successful track record in achievement on this count.

“A core element of the Grand Slam regulations is the responsibility of the players to engage with the media, whatever the result of their match, a responsibility which players take for the benefit of the sport, the fans and for themselves. These interactions allow both the players and the media to share their perspective and for the players to tell their story.

“The facilitation of media to a broad array of channels, both traditional and digital, is a major contributor to the development and growth of our sport and the fan base of individual players.”

The joint statement concluded: “We want to underline that rules are in place to ensure all players are treated exactly the same, no matter their stature, beliefs or achievement. As a sport there is nothing more important than ensuring no player has an unfair advantage over another, which unfortunately is the case in this situation if one player refuses to dedicate time to participate in media commitments while the others all honour their commitments.

“Finally, all Grand Slams remain committed to continually reviewing and discussing opportunities, together with the Tours and the players, to improve every aspect of the player experience, including with the media. But we consider this is only ever achieved through respectful and constructive discussions.”

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