Japanese four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka has said she will not interact with press in her upcoming French Open campaign, citing mental health reasons.
Naomi — the reigning Australian Open champion — announced the media boycott ahead of the Roland Garros event, which will get underway on Sunday, DPA reports.
Under French Open rules, players are required to hold media conferences after each match.
Naomi is the world’s highest earning female athlete and will be fined by tournament officials should the world number two not take part in news conferences. She hopes the fines she will receive can be donated towards mental health charity.
“I’m writing this to say that I’m not going to do any press during Roland Garros,” Naomi wrote on Twitter.
“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.
“I’ve watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well. I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they’re down and I don’t understand the reasoning behind it.
“Me not doing press is nothing personal to the tournament. 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.”
Naomi heads to Paris having never progressed beyond the third round of the French Open. The 23-year-old former world No.1 skipped last year’s French Open amid the Covid-19 pandemic.