Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has announced she is not going to speak to the media during this year’s French Open, saying the nature of news conferences puts an undue burden on players’ mental health.
The world’s highest-earning female athlete wrote a social media post saying the “considerable amount” that she expects to be fined will go towards a mental health charity.
Osaka, 23, heads into the clay-court tournament having won the last two Grand Slams at the US Open and Australian Open, but she has yet to make it beyond the third round at Roland Garros.
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“I’m writing this to say I’m not going to do any press during Roland Garros,” Osaka wrote on Twitter.
“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health and this rings true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one.
“We’re often sat there and asked questions that we’ve been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”
Osaka added: “I’ve watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well. I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they’re down and I don’t understand the reasoning behind it.”
The world No 2 said the decision was “nothing personal” against the tournament or a couple of journalists she said she has a friendly relationship with and that she hoped the tournaments would reconsider their approach.
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Osaka later tweeted a video of former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch famously repeating the line “I’m just here so I won’t get fined”, at a pre-Super Bowl press conference in 2015.
Osaka has in the past used her platform and considerable press attention to highlight issues of police violence and racial inequality.
The French Open main draw begins on Sunday with the tournament due to end on June 13.
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