Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open. She made the official announcement after French Open, warned Osaka of expulsion, charged a fine, and asked to reconsider her decision.
“I think now 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” she said on Twitter.
Last Wednesday, Naomi Osaka announced she would not take part in the media interviews at Roland-Garros 2021. Following her announcement, the Roland-Garros team requested her to reconsider her position. They also made attempts but failed to speak with her to check on her well-being, understand her issue. They also asked what they could do to address it on site.
Naomi Osaka on Sunday chose not to honour her contractual media obligations. As a result, she was fined by the Roland-Garros referee USD 15,000. Keeping with article III H. of the Code of Conduct.
French Open advised Naomi Osaka that if she should not ignore the media address. If she does so, she would be exposing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement consequences. Repeat violations could attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament (Code of Conduct article III T.). It could also trigger off a major offence investigation. This could lead to more substantial fines and in the worst case– future Grand Slam suspension (CoC IV A.3.).
As per tournament norms– it is mandatory for each player to do a press conference post their matches.
Round 1 of the French Open 2021 began on Sunday (May 30), and Japan’s Naomi Osaka started the tournament with an easy win. However, the story of the day was Osaka’s fine and the threat of explusion from the Grand Slam for missing the press conference after this match.
This wasn’t the only time Osaka’s press boycott was brought up, however. The official French Open account posted and deleted a tweet that seemed to contain a dig against Osaka.
The tweet showed pictures of Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff speaking to the media. The caption read: “They understood the assignment.”