“We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations, she would be exposing herself to possible further code of conduct infringement consequences,” said a statement from the four Grand Slam tournaments after issuing the world number two with a US$15,000 fine.
“As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament.”
Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam title winner and sport’s highest-earning female athlete, was fined for refusing to hold a press conference after her opening 6-4, 7-6 (7/4) victory over Romanian world number 63 Patricia Maria Tig.
The 23-year-old had said on the eve of the tournament that she would refuse to carry out any media obligations, claiming news conferences are detrimental to her mental health.
She believes traditional post-match inquests are akin to “kicking people when they’re down”.
However, the four Grand Slam events – Wimbledon, the French, Australian and US Opens – issued a joint statement, saying they had written to Osaka “to check on her well-being and offer support”.
“She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.
“Naomi Osaka today chose not to honour her contractual media obligations. The Roland Garros referee has therefore issued her a US$15,000 fine.”
After her match on Sunday, Osaka agreed only to a cursory on-court TV interview.
“For me, playing on clay is a work in progress,” said the reigning US and Australian Open champion on a sun-kissed Court Philippe Chatrier. “Hopefully the more I play, the better I will become.”
And that was that from a player who has now strung together 15 successive Grand Slam match wins.
The Grand Slam heads also said Osaka’s refusal to take part in media duties put opponents at a disadvantage.
“There is nothing more important than ensuring no player has an unfair advantage over another, which unfortunately is the case in this situation if one player refuses to dedicate time to participate in media commitments while the others all honour their commitments.” (AFP)