Following her choice to skip post-match media responsibilities at the Grand Slam competition, Naomi Osaka announced her withdrawal from the 2021 French Open on Monday.
The four-time Grand Slam champion stated on Twitter, “The best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.”
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 31, 2021
Grand Slam authorities penalized Naomi $15,000 for missing a press conference following her first-round victory against Romanian Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday.
In the lead-up to the clay-court major, the four-time Grand Slam winner took to Twitter on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, to announce that she wouldn’t be entering the press room because she believes some of the journalists she and other players speak to purposely try to bring doubts into their minds, saying the nature of questions from journalists is like “kicking a person when they are down”.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 26, 2021
She went on to say that her decision “is nothing personal to the tournament and a couple of journalists have interviewed me since I was young so I have a friendly relationship with most of them. However, if the organizations think that they can just keep saying ‘do press or you’re gonna be fined,’ and continue to ignore the mental health of their athletes that are the centrepiece of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh.”
The organizers of the French Open had encouraged Naomi to reconsider her position and tried unsuccessfully to communicate with her to address the problem, the board of the four Grand Slams stated in a statement.
“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,” said a statement from the four Grand Slam tournaments.