Ahead of her arrival at the French Open, Naomi Osaka issued a statement on social media, explaining that she would not participate in any news conferences at the Grand Slam, citing mental health reasons as the primary motivation for doing so.
Following her win over 63rd-ranked Patricia Maria Tig in the first round of the tournament, Osaka made good on her promise and did not meet with media in a post-match press conference. As a result, she was fined $15,000 by a Roland-Garros referee.
However, the penalties may not stop there for the four-time major champion and the No. 2-ranked women’s tennis player in the world. The Grand Slam tournaments of tennis issued a joint statement after Osaka’s first round win saying that stiffer consequences could be on the way if the 23-year-old continued to “ignore her media obligations.”
“Naomi Osaka today chose not to honour her contractual media obligations,” the statement from the Grand Slam board said. “The Roland-Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine, in keeping with article III H. of the Code of Conduct.”
“… 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,” the statement continued. “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.).”
Here’s a look at the Grand Slam board’s full statement, courtesy of Guardian’s Tumaini Carayol:
The full statement from the Grand Slam board after the announcement that Naomi Osaka has been fined $15,000.
Repeat violations could "attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament" and "could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions" pic.twitter.com/H2K6TZTxSX
— Tumaini Carayol (@tumcarayol) May 30, 2021
Osaka did speak briefly with former tennis player and journalist Fabrice Santoro to address the fans on-hand at Roland Garros after her first round victory. In the exchange she was asked about her performance on the clay at the French Open, where she’s struggled in the past.
“I would say it’s a work in progress,” Osaka said about her game on clay. “Hopefully the more I play, the better it will get.”
Osaka has never advanced past the third round at the French Open but will try to flip the script over the next two weeks. She’ll be back in action on Tuesday against unranked Romanian player Ana Bogdan.