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Naomi Osaka will not speak to media at French Open to protect her mental health

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka has said she will not speak to the media during the French Open in a bid to protect her mental health.

Players who do not attend post-match press conferences are regularly fined and the four-time Grand Slam champion said she fully expected the same treatment over her decision.

The 24-year-old, who has not made it beyond the third round at Roland Garros, said in a statement on social media: “I’m not going to do any press during Roland Garros. 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.

“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.

“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 and a couple of journalists have interviewed me since I was young so I have a friendly relationship with most of them.

“However, if the organisations think they can just keep saying, ‘do press or you’re gonna be fined’, and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes at the centrepiece of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh.”

Osaka also said she expected to be fined a “considerable amount” as a result of her actions but that she hoped the money would go towards a mental health charity.

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