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Naomi Osaka handed heavy fine and threatened with French Open expulsion

Naomi Osaka has been warned she could be thrown out of the French Open and banned from Wimbledon if she continues her media boycott.

The world No.2 was yesterday slapped with a $15,000 fine for refusing to carry out her mandatory post-match press conference after her opening win at Roland Garros.

The reigning US and Australian Open champion stated before the clay court Grand Slam that she was imposing a media blackout in Paris to protect her “mental health”.

Osaka, the richest sportswoman in the world, became famous beyond her sport last year with her campaigning for the Black Lives Matter movement.

But the four Grand Slam tournaments, including Wimbledon, yesterday issued a strongly-worded statement revealing their anger at the “unfair” behaviour of four-time Grand Slam champion.

It read: “Naomi Osaka today chose not to honour her contractual media obligations. The Roland-Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine.

Naomi Osaka has been threatened with disqualification

“Following the lack of engagement by Naomi Osaka, the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes’ well-being and suggest dialogue on the issues.

“She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.

“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.

“As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions.

The World No 2 won her first round match in straight sets
The World No 2 won her first round match in straight sets

“We want to underline that rules are in place to ensure all players are treated exactly the same, no matter their stature, beliefs or achievement.

“As a sport there is nothing more important than ensuring no player has an unfair advantage over another, which unfortunately is the case in this situation if one player refuses to dedicate time to participate in media commitments while the others all honour their commitments.

“Finally, all Grand Slams remain committed to continually reviewing and discussing opportunities, together with the Tours and the players, to improve every aspect of the player experience, including with the media. But we consider this is only ever achieved through respectful and constructive discussions.”

Osaka won her first round match Patricia Maria Tig of Romania 6-4 7-5 yesterday – and gave a brief on-court interview.

“I am really glad that I won,” she said. “Hopefully I will keep it going.”




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