Tennis world stunned by Naomi Osaka's shock French Open announcement

·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Naomi Osaka, pictured here during a practice session on Court Philippe-Chatrier.
Naomi Osaka during a practice session on Court Philippe-Chatrier at the French Open. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka has made the staggering announcement that she won't do any press conferences at the upcoming French Open.

The World No.2 took to social media on Thursday to make the shock announcement, saying she was taking the unprecedented step to protect her mental health.

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A four-time grand slam winner, Osaka says she will donate the fines she will accrue to mental health charities.

"I am writing this to say that I am not going to do any press during Roland Garros," the 23-year-old announced on Twitter.

"I have 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."

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Tennis world stunned by Naomi Osaka announcement

Under tennis tournament regulations, all players are required to hold press conferences after matches or risk monetary fines.

Players also perform media duties before a tournament.

Osaka regularly packs out media rooms due to her standing in the sport and her charismatic appeal to reporters.

She fields questions in Japanese and English and is regarded as one of the world's most marketable stars.

Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty, pictured here practicing together ahead of the French Open.
Naomi Osaka and Ash Barty practice together ahead of the French Open. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

She earned a massive $AU70 million worth of traditional endorsements in 2020 - more than any other female athlete in a calendar year.

“I’ve watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well," she added in her announcement.

"I believe the whole situation is kicking a person while they are down and I don't understand the reasoning behind it."

Osaka said the decision was "nothing personal" against the tournament or a couple of journalists she said she has a friendly relationship with and that she hoped all tournaments would reconsider their approach.

Tennis fans and pundits were left stunned by the announcement, with the majority praising Osaka for taking a stand.

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The French Open gets underway in Paris on Sunday.

Osaka has never made it beyond the third round at Roland Garros.

with agencies

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