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Naomi Osaka fined $15K for media boycott

Mar 31, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a forehand against Maria Sakkari of Greece (not pictured) in a women’s singles quarterfinal in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

World No. 2 Naomi Osaka of Japan received a $15,000 fine Sunday and faces a potential expulsion from the French Open if she continues to boycott post-match press conferences.

As promised earlier in the week, the second-seeded Osaka skipped the obligatory news conference after defeating Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig 6-4, 7-6 (4) in the first round at Roland Garros.

Osaka, 23, a four-time major winner, said Wednesday that she thinks the obligatory media sessions can negatively impact an athlete’s mental health and confidence.

On Sunday, the board of Grand Slam tournaments issued a statement announcing the fine and outlining additional consequences if she continues to violate the Code of Conduct.

“As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament (Code of Conduct article III T.) and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions (Code of Conduct article IV A.3.),” read the statement.

The board’s statement said the rules exist to make sure all players are treated the same.

“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,” it read.

Osaka’s second-round opponent will be Romania’s Ana Bogdan.

–Field Level Media