Naomi Osaka fined $15,000 and could face further punishment for media boycott in Paris

Naomi Osaka’s decision to boycott the media was always going to create a storm.

On Thursday night the four time major champion posted this on social media:

It created a debate in and out of the tennis world about mental health of athletes and some have ‘no regard’ for the mental health of sports players.

After her first round 6-4 7-6 win over the Romanian, Patricia Maria Tig the world number two followed through with her decision and did not do press and has been subsequently fined $15,000 for not doing this.

Naomi Osaka today chose not to honour her contractual media obligations. The Roland-Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine, in keeping with article III H. of the Code of Conduct. 

In light of this the Grand Slam tournaments have all signed a statement which has been published which threatens the possibility of the Japanese player being defaulted from tournament and repeated violations could see future suspensions for her.

We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations during the tournament, she would be exposing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement consequences. As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament (Code of Conduct article III T.) and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions (Code of Conduct article IV A.3.).

Is this the right move to take from the Grand Slam board? I don’t think so, I understand when you play a tournament that you are contracted to do things but you shouldn’t then be threatened into doing them.

Could you imagine if a few days down the line Naomi Osaka is defaulted from the tournament? It would be a PR nightmare for Tennis and Roland Garros. They will be hung out to dry by media outlets around the world.

When you think of the things that tennis has brushed under the carpet in the last few months and year then Naomi Osaka is being targeted by governing bodies for skipping press for mental health reasons.

I fully get that if you play a tournament you are obliged to follow their rules and requirements but tennis needs to get its priorities in line and their respective houses in order. 

It is worth saying that they have reached out to Naomi to check-in with her but have ‘tried unsuccessfully’ to speak to her:

Following this announcement, the Roland-Garros teams asked her to reconsider her position and tried unsuccessfully to speak with her to check on her well-being, understand the specifics of her issue and what might be done to address it on site.

Following the lack of engagement by Naomi Osaka, the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes’ well-being and suggest dialog on the issues. She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.  

This statement released by Roland Garros on behalf of:

Jayne Hrdlicka, Tennis Australia Chair & President

Gilles Moretton, FFT President

Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman

Mike McNulty, USTA Chairman of the Board & President

All quotes via the statement below:

Statement from Grand Slam tournaments regarding Naomi Osaka

Naomi is due back on the court on Tuesday, the second seed will be taking on Ana Bogdan and you can imagine the eyes of the sporting world will be on this one!

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