PARIS — Naomi Osaka’s return to the French Open was triumphant as she gained her first-round match over Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday in straight units. However Osaka didn’t emerge unscathed from the event’s opening day.
She was later fined $15,000 by the French Open event referee for declining to seem at a compulsory postmatch information convention and was warned that she risked stronger penalties, together with default from the event, if she continued to not fulfill her media obligations.
That surprisingly stern warning was delivered in an announcement signed by the leaders of the 4 Grand Slam tournaments: Gilles Moretton, the brand new president of the French Tennis Federation; Mike McNulty, the brand new head of america Tennis Affiliation; Jayne Hrdlicka, the pinnacle of Tennis Australia; and Ian Hewitt, chairman of the All England Membership, which runs Wimbledon.
The Grand Slam occasions’ leaders additionally emphasised that repeat violations by Osaka may result in “extra substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions.”
Osaka, a four-time main singles champion who is among the sport’s largest stars, is now confronted with a selection. Earlier than the French Open started, she introduced that she wouldn’t do “any press” through the event, citing the necessity to protect her “psychological well being” by avoiding repetitive and probably detrimental questions from journalists.
But when the intent was to restrict distractions and discover inside calm, she now faces a probably larger concern in Paris if she continues to abstain from information conferences.
The Grand Slam leaders expressed frustration with Osaka’s lack of engagement with tennis officers, explaining of their assertion that the French Open administration staff had “tried unsuccessfully to talk along with her to examine on her well-being, perceive the specifics of her concern and what is likely to be executed to handle it on web site.”
The Grand Slam leaders stated they’d written collectively to Osaka to remind her of her obligations and of the implications she confronted for not complying with the foundations. The leaders additionally emphasised the significance of equal remedy.
“We wish to underline that guidelines are in place to make sure all gamers are handled precisely the identical, regardless of their stature, beliefs or achievement,” the assertion stated. “As a sport there may be nothing extra vital than making certain no participant has an unfair benefit over one other, which sadly is the case on this state of affairs if one participant refuses to dedicate time to take part in media commitments whereas the others all honour their commitments.”
Main gamers corresponding to Andre Agassi, Venus Williams and Novak Djokovic have skipped information conferences after defeats and been fined. However that is the primary occasion of a high participant making it clear prematurely that she didn’t intend to talk with the information media throughout a Grand Slam event.
Osaka, who relies in america and represents Japan, has had, basically, a optimistic relationship with the information media. She is the world’s highest paid feminine athlete, with the majority of her earnings coming from sponsorships. She has raised her profile not just by successful main titles however by advocating social justice; she wore masks after matches ultimately 12 months’s United States Open that honored Black victims of violence, together with police violence.