Naomi Osaka to boycott press conferences at French Open ‘to protect her mental health’

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<p>Osaka to boycott press conferences at French Open to protect her mental health</p> (Getty Images)

Osaka to boycott press conferences at French Open to protect her mental health

(Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka has revealed that she will not take part in any press conferences during the upcoming French Open, in what she described as a decision to protect her mental health.

The 23-year-old Japanese tennis player wrote in a Twitter post: “I'm writing this to say that I'm not going to do any press during Roland Garros.”

“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 am not going to subject myself to people who doubt me,” Osaka wrote.

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Most major competitions include contractual requirements for players to address the media before or after their matches.

Earlier this year, American tennis player Christian Harrison was fined $3,000 (£2,213) by the ATP after refusing to take part in a mandatory on-court interview at the Delray Beach Open in Florida as it required him to wear a mask.

Osaka said in her statement that she has watched clips of other athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room, and believes that the “whole situation is kicking a person while they're down and I don't understand the reasoning behind it”.

The world number two clarified the decision was “nothing personal” to the tournament’s journalists.

“However, if the organisations think that they can just keep saying, 'do press or you're gonna be fined', and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are centrepiece of their co-operation then I just gotta laugh,” she said.

Naomi Osaka clutches the Australian Open trophy (Getty)
Naomi Osaka clutches the Australian Open trophy (Getty)

She concluded by stating that she hopes the considerable fine that she is likely to receive “will go towards a mental health charity”.

The French Open qualifiers are underway and the tournament is due to end on 13 June.

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