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Osaka fined following media boycott, threatened with Grand Slam bans

The second seed has been warned about her decision not to speak to the press and the possible future punishment that might ensue if her boycott continues

Mar 31, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts after missing a shot against Maria Sakkari of Greece (not pictured) in a women’s singles quarterfinal in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium.

Naomi Osaka carried through with her threat to boycott the post-match press conference at Roland-Garros – and the tournament has now confirmed that she has been fined $15,000.

Additionally, they have told her that if she continues to refuse to speak to the media, she will be liable to further fines and possibly default from the tournament as well as suspension from future Slams.

The second seed beat Patricia Maria Tig in her first-round match, and although she spoke briefly on court immediately afterwards, she did not speak to journalists afterwards.

In a strongly-worded joint statement, the Grand Slam tournaments revealed that the French Open organisers had tried to speak to her – and the four Slams had written to her to check on her wellbeing following her complaint that mandatory media conferences showed no regard for athletes’ mental health.

“The mental health of players competing in our tournaments and on the Tours is of the utmost importance to the Grand Slams,” the statement read.

“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…and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions.

“We want to underline that rules are in place to ensure all players are treated exactly the same, no matter their stature, beliefs or achievement. As a sport 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.”

Osaka responded on Sunday night with a short Twitter post.

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