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Osaka will accept French Open fines to highlight mental health issues


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Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka has announced that she will not be fulfilling any press conference duties at this year's French Open.

The 23-year-old Japanese tennis player says that she hopes Roland Garros organisers will donate "the considerable amount" she gets fined for not attending post-match press conferences to a mental health charity.

Osaka, who has previously used her high profile to raise awareness around racial violence in the United States and to support the Black Lives Matter movement, posted a letter on her social media accounts on Wednesday explaining why she was turning down her media duties.

"I’m writing this to say I’m not going to do any press during Roland Garros," read Osaka's post ahead of the tournament start on Sunday.

"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 are 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’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me."

The rules on press conferences at Grand Slam tournaments state that they are mandatory and that any player who fails to attend one, can be fined up to $20K.

Some players have opted to accept fines in the past after bad defeats at Grand Slam events.

"Me not doing press is nothing personal to the tournament and a couple of journalists have interviewed me since I was young so I have a friendly relationship with most of them," Osaka continued.

"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 the centerpiece of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh."

The French Tennis Federation and Women's Tennis Association are yet to comment.


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French Open Naomi Osaka Roland Garros Women's Tennis Association

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