Naomi Osaka Responded To Fines And Threats By Withdrawing From The French Open To Practice Self-Care

Tennis star Naomi Osaka announced that she is withdrawing from the French Open to exercise self-care after being fined by the tennis organization.

The French Open fined Osaka $15,000 for skipping her media obligations after her first-round match on Sunday, May 30th.

Last week, on May 26, Osaka announced that she would not participate in any press obligations during the French Open, citing the negative toll press conferences take on her mental well-being. 

“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one,” wrote Osaka. 

Shortly after the financial consequences, the French Open, US Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon combined for a joint statement threatening further punishment (including expulsion) if Osaka continued to refuse her media obligations. 

The looming threats of expulsion from the Grand Slam committees forced Osaka to be forthcoming about her personal struggles with depression since the US Open in 2018.

“I get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media,” Osaka said. “I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can.” 

With her decision to not speak to the media and now withdraw from the major tournament altogether, the four-time Grand Slam champion provoked a range of opinions around the role of sport media on professional athletes and their mental health. 

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