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Naomi Osaka fined $15,000 for not doing French Open post-match press conference and threatened with disqualification

The four-time Grand Slam singles champion announced on Wednesday she would not be attending any media interviews, citing mental health reasons; French Open deletes a tweet praising players for attending media conferences

Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates during her match against Patricia Maria Țig of Romania in the first round of the women’s singles at Roland Garros on May 30, 2021 in Paris, France.
Image: Naomi Osaka has been warned she faces being thrown out of the French Open should she continue her media boycott

Naomi Osaka has been warned she could be expelled from the French Open if she continues to refuse to speak to the media.

The four-time Grand Slam singles champion has been fined $15,000 after she did not conduct a post-match press conference following her first-round win against Romanian Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday.

Osaka announced last Wednesday via social media that she would not participate in mandatory media interviews, citing mental health reasons.

Naomi Osaka beat Romanian Patricia Maria Tig in the first round of the French Open on Sunday
Image: Naomi Osaka beat Romanian Patricia Maria Tig in the first round of the French Open on Sunday

A statement on behalf of all four Grand Slam tournaments said "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."

It continued: "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.)."

The French Open also posted a tweet on its official feed praising players for attending media conferences, showing pictures of Rafa Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff engaging with the media along with the caption: "They understood the assignment."

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It was subsequently deleted but not before being widely shared, drawing criticism from social media users but also supportive responses.

Former doubles world No 1 and tennis pundit Rennae Stubbs said the post was "humiliating" for Osaka.

"I understand your attempt at making a point but this isn't a good look," she tweeted. "I mean, these particular players are a great look for tennis but making a player feel guilty & humiliating her is NOT a good look for a tennis fed."

Sky Sports News has approached the French Open for comment.

Osaka, 23, took part in a short and rather awkward on-court interview for the few hundred fans allowed into Court Philippe Chatrier following her win.

The second seed said ahead of the clay-court Grand Slam that she wanted to take a stand against the impact of interviews on the psychological welfare of all players.

The statement from the four Grand Slams added: "The mental health of players competing in our tournaments and on the Tours is of the utmost importance to the Grand Slams.

"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."

The Grand Slam tournaments also said they remain committed to reviewing "every aspect of the player experience, including with the media", but that it was only achievable "through respectful and constructive discussions".

In an apparent riposte on Twitter on Sunday evening, the Japanese star wrote: "anger is a lack of understanding. change makes people uncomfortable."

Osaka, who has yet to reach the last-16 at Roland Garros during her career, will face world No 102 Ana Bogdan in the second round.

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