Naomi Osaka agrees to do her on-court interview at French Open after edging through first round at Roland Garros in straight sets… but world No 2 will stick to her pledge to boycott speaking to the media while in Paris
- Osaka had said she won’t participate in any press duties during the French Open
- World No 2 cited mental health concerns over taking part in press conferences
- Now she has agreed to do her on-court interview after beating Patricia Maria Tig
- Osaka edged past Romanian Tig with a 6-4 7-6 (4) victory on Sunday morning
Naomi Osaka did her talking on the court with a first-round victory over Patricia Maria Tig at the French Open.
Osaka’s decision not to do any press during the tournament has been the biggest talking point during the build-up to the year’s second grand slam, with the four-time grand slam champion citing mental health reasons.
She admits to not being completely comfortable on clay, and she has never been beyond the third round at Roland Garros, but the second seed avoided any real drama in a 6-4, 7-6 victory over Romanian Tig.
Naomi Osaka had said she won’t participate in any press duties during the French Open
However, she has now agreed to do her on-court interview after beating Patricia Maria Tig
Despite her media snub, Osaka did take part in a short and rather awkward on-court interview for the few hundred fans allowed into Court Philippe Chatrier.
‘I’m very glad that I won,’ said the 23-year-old, who skipped the tournament last year. ‘It’s a very beautiful court. I’ve only played two matches here, one was before the roof and one is right now. Hopefully I’ll keep it going.’
Regarding her movement on clay, Osaka said: ‘I would say it’s a work in progress. Hopefully the more I play, the better I’ll get.’
Prior to the game, Osaka posted a lengthy statement on Twitter explaining the pressures athletes come under when faced with questions from the press.
Osaka edged past Romanian Tig (above) with a 6-4 7-6 (4) victory on Sunday morning
Naomi Osaka released a statement saying she would boycott the press at the French Open; the world No 2 cited mental health concerns as the reason behind her decision
Osaka’s statement in full reads: ‘Hey everyone – hope you’re all doing well, I’m writing this to say 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.
Serena Williams left the press room early after her loss to Osaka in this year’s Australian Open
Andy Murray had to leave the room during his pre-event presser at the 2019 Australian Open
‘Me not doing press is nothing personal to the tournament and a couple journalists have interviewed me since I was young so I have a friendly relationship with most of them.
‘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 centerpeice of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh.
‘Anyways, I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity.’
Players such as Andy Murray and Serena Williams have recently broken down at press conferences, with the American leaving the room after her semi-final loss against Osaka in Melbourne this year and Murray having to leave the press room two years ago, as he believed he would have to retire from tennis due to ongoing hip issues.
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