Naomi Osaka – French Open Defends Giving Tennis Star $15K Fine & Threatening To Suspend Her From Tournament
Despite all of the criticism it has received, the French Open is doubling down on its decision to fine Naomi Osaka $15,000 after she announced she wouldn’t be doing press interviews to protect her mental health. Tournament officials also threatened to expel her from Grand Slam events (made up of the French Open, Australian Open, Wimbledon, and US Open).
The French Open previously released a joint statement with the US Open, Wimbledon, and Australian Open in response to Naomi Osaka’s decision to not participate in interviews and said,
“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,” the statement said. “As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament (Code of Conduct article III T.) and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions (Code of Conduct article IV A.3.).”
Now, the French Open is standing by its decision. French tennis federation president Gilles Moretton said during a press conference yesterday (June 13th),
“We did it the right way. What we did all together with the Slams, we had to do it. We did the right choice, even if you feel like we shouldn’t say anything … regarding Naomi.”
French tennis federation director general Amelie Oudea-Castera added that organizers told Naomi Osaka (in writing) before the tournament that she was at risk of fines and consequences, stating that they
“really tried to engage with Naomi several times, several ways, including on the practice courts, including in writing.”
Oudea-Castera went on to say,
“There is a specific book explaining that. And when you regularly default your obligations without giving specific explanations in particular, you expose yourself to a default or more permanent sanction. We wanted her to know because it was a way to protect her to explain that to her.”
While the maximum fine allowed is $20,000 Oudea-Castera said they fined Naomi Osaka a lesser amount
“on purpose… because we wanted to send a message that we wouldn’t go to a default right away…We wanted to have a progressive escalation should she continue not to commit to her obligations.”
Still, Oudea-Castera acknowledged that officials “can do better” in handling mental health concerns for players, announcing that the four Grand Slams will “take the initiative on the matter together.”
Meanwhile, Naomi Osaka has pulled out of a tournament in Berlin to “take a break” according to her rep.
What are your thoughts on what the tennis officials standing by their choice? Comment and let us know.