Last week it was reported that tennis champion Naomi Osaka is the world’s highest-paid woman for the second straight year. Due to the mental stress she has been experiencing lately, she had just stated that she will not be doing interviews at the current French Open because “people have no regard for athletes’ mental health and this rings true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one.”
According to the Sporting News, after being fined $15,000 for not attending her post-match news conference on Sunday after her victory against Patricia Maria Tig, the tennis champion has decided to take a break from the sport as she withdrew from the French Open.
Collectively, the four Grand Slam tournaments — the Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open — had announced in a joint statement that they had fined Osaka $15,000 for not doing a post-game interview after her win.
“Naomi Osaka today chose not to honor 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.
“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 offense investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions (Code of Conduct article IV A.3.)”
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
After receiving the fine, Osaka took to social media to announce her withdrawal from the tournament as she has decided to focus on her mental health.
“Hey everyone, this isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris. I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.”
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 31, 2021
According to CNN, Osaka received major backing from some of her sponsors as a few released statements to show support:
Nike: “Our thoughts are with Naomi. We support her and recognize her courage in sharing her own mental health experience.”
Mastercard: “Naomi Osaka’s decision reminds us all how important it is to prioritize personal health and well-being. We support her and admire her courage to address important issues, both on and off the court.”
Nissin Foods: “We pray for Ms. Naomi Osaka’s earliest recovery, and wish her continue success.”
The tennis phenom also received support from other notable people:
— Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) May 31, 2021
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) May 31, 2021
doing media is forced upon us. it’s time to start protecting those that don’t want to speak…. let their game speak for them. being forced to do media shouldn’t be part of being an athlete ❤️ https://t.co/4Q68z2jHxd
— Elizabeth Cambage (@ecambage) May 31, 2021
I am so sad about Naomi Osaka.I truly hope she will be ok. As athletes we are taught to take care of our body, and perhaps the mental & emotional aspect gets short shrift. This is about more than doing or not doing a press conference. Good luck Naomi- we are all pulling for you!
— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) May 31, 2021
— Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson) May 31, 2021
Take care of YOU
— Holly Robinson Peete😷🥰 (@hollyrpeete) May 31, 2021
Imagine if her concerns about her mental health had been met with a caring, “We understand and want you to be well” and “Let’s make this space more kind” by tournament officials. https://t.co/YJ2T5t7U70
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) May 31, 2021