Naomi Osaka Slapped With $15k Fines for Not Doing Press at the French Open

Illustration for article titled Naomi Osaka Slapped With $15k Fines for Not Doing Press at the French Open
Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno (Getty Images)

Last week, Naomi Osaka announced that she would not be doing any press at the French Open, happening now through June 13 in Paris, in an effort to protect her mental health.


“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,” the tennis champion tweeted on Wednesday. “I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity.”

Well, she was right about the “considerable amount that I get fined” part!

In a joint statement released Sunday from the international organizations behind the Grand Slam tournaments, it was announced that Osaka now faces $15,000 in fines for refusing “to honor her contractual media obligations,” NBC News reports.

The statement goes on to say that “the mental health of players competing in our tournaments and on the Tours is of the utmost importance to the Grand Slams,” which is why you’re threatening them with insane fines?? Osaka definitely made the right decision not to trust these clowns over herself when it comes to her personal well-being.

Freelance journalist (GQ, W, Esquire, elsewhere), here on weekends



This is a weird take on the statement, which also threatened default for her from this tournament and future Grand Slams for not fulfilling the requirement of contract to play in the tournament, which was not mentioned at all in this blog post.

The rules (which are legally binding on the participants given the contracts they signed to play in the tournament) literally stipulate any player that refuses to participate in the media MUST be fined and the penalties will escalate.

Osaka overplayed her hand. She didn’t discuss mental health issues previously with anyone, nevermind her representation or the WTA before randomly announcing a few days before a tournament she wasn’t going to participate and then including videos of other athletes as some kind of justification. The WTA and the French Open Tournament said they’ve reached out to her and her representation multiple times to inquire about specific actions they could take that Osaka is concerned about and they have not received any response from her.

The Grand Slam award money and the money for the tournaments to run largely comes from selling the global media rights. If the top players are not participating in the media, it would be a huge problem for the tournaments.

If there’s specific issues she wants addressed, this is the moment to speak up. If not, she’s responsible for her own actions.