Naomi Osaka has announced that she will not be participating in any news conferences during the upcoming French Open.
The tennis champion cites the need to preserve her mental health as the reason.
“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes’ mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one,” she wrote.
Osaka is a four-time major champion and is currently the No. 2-ranked women’s tennis player in the world.
“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’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”
Supporters flooded her mentions on social media, offering messages of support.
Osaka knows that players can be fined up to $200,000 for skipping news conferences, but she is more than prepared to take the hit.
“If the organizations 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 at the centerpiece of their [corporation], then I just gotta laugh,” she said. She added that she hopes a “considerable amount” of the fines will be donated to mental health charities.
Osaka recently celebrated her monumental win at the 2021 Australian Open. The 23-year-old beat Jennifer Brady in the final, landing her fourth major title. She currently ties with Kim Clijsters for the number of major titles secure and is trailing just Serena and Venus Williams.