Naomi Osaka is playing the game of tennis. Sis isn’t playing when it comes to her mental health.
The 4x Grand Slam title holder is gearing up to compete in the French Open and is already setting her boundaries when it comes to press interviews. On Wednesday, the tennis champion took to Twitter to announce that she won’t be speaking with any media during the Roland-Garros tournament to preserve her mental health, Huff Post reports.
“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 said in a statement shared in a tweet. “I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me. I’ve watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well. I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they’re down and I don’t understand the reasoning behind it.”
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 26, 2021
Professional tennis players are fined thousands in the event they skip out on attending a mandated post-game press conference where they’re often asked about their loss or game slipups. But despite the expected loss to her multi-million dollar net worth, Osaka is solely focused on representing Japan at the French Open.
In her statement, Osaka expressed her hopes that the amount she is fined “ will go towards a mental health charity.”
“If the organizations think that they can keep saying, “do your press or you’re going to be fined”, and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centerpiece of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh,” she wrote.
Back in 2016, Serena Williams was issued a $5,000 fine after she refused to interview about her early departure from the Australia Open, The Guardian reports. It looks like Osaka is following in Williams’s footsteps in more ways than one.