Just days before the French Open’s main draw is set to begin, world No. 2 Naomi Osaka dropped the news that she will not be participating in any press at the Grand Slam event.
“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one,” she wrote on social media. “We’re often sat there and asked questions that we’ve been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”
Osaka continued, writing that she has seen clips of players breaking down in press conferences after a loss, which she compared to “kicking a person while they’re down.” She cited mental health as her reason for not doing interviews.
“If the organizations think that they can just keep saying, “do press or you’re gonna be fined”, and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centerpiece of their cooperation [corporation] then I just gotta laugh,” she wrote. “Anyways, I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity.”
Osaka also posted a follow-up tweet with the video of Marshawn Lynch at the 2015 Super Bowl media day saying “I’m here so I won’t get fined.” Osaka deleted that tweet and also a quote tweet where she responded to a fan questioning her decision by noting she’ll be “paying the fine.” Players are required to attend press conferences when requested by the media.
At just 23, Osaka has four Grand Slam titles under her belt, including the 2020 U.S. Open and this year’s Australian Open. She has never won in Paris and has not advanced past the Round of 32 in four main draws. She did not play in 2020 due to a sore hamstring.
The tournament begins May 30 with the women’s final scheduled for June 12.
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