Naomi Osaka refuses to speak to the media during the French Open. The US Open and Australian Open title holder wants to raise awareness for the mental health of professional athletes. That is why she is not participating in any press conferences related to the tournament, not even after her first win against Patricia Maria from Romania with 6-4, 7-6 (7-4). Only in a brief interview still on the court, Osaka said that “playing on clay is still a learning process for me. Hopefully, I’ll get better with every match on this surface.”
The organisers of the French Open are not very happy about it and have fined Osaka $15,000. Further, they announced: “We have advised Naomi Osaka that […] repeated violations will result in harsher sanctions, up to and including exclusion from the tournament.” Short stoty long, if Naomi keeps ignoring her media obligations she will be disqualified.
Osaka’s decision to boycott the media creates mixed feeling in the other players. Ashleigh Barty from Australia made it clear that the press work was “part of the job.” In Rafael Nadal’s opinion, he would not be where he is without the media. The German Alexander Zverev “respects the decision”.