On Sunday, Roland Garros organisers said world number two Naomi Osaka could face expulsion from the tournament if she continues to refuse to speak to the media. The issue could also spell trouble for her at future Grand Slams.
The Japanese tennis player said last week that she would refrain from attending news conferences during the French Open in order to protect her mental health.
She kept her word and after Sunday’s first-round 6-4 7-6 (7-4) win over Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig she did not attend to the media. As a result, she was fined $15,000 (£10,570).
In a joint statement, the four Grand Slam organisers threatened Osaka with “more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions”.
On the other hand, the organisers revealed that after the 23-year-old made her decision public, they tried to get her to reconsider her position and, after unsuccessful attempts to talk to her, they wrote to her to offer support and to remind her of her obligations.
The statement also highlights the responsibility of the players to engage with the media “for the benefit of the sport, the fans and for themselves.”
It is worth recalling that the Osaka native said that expecting players to answer questions after a defeat is tantamount to “kicking a person while they’re down”.