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After Naomi Osaka decided to forego speaking with the media following a first-round win at the French Open, details have continued to pour in suggesting that the reasons the No. 2 ranked tennis star skipped interviews aren’t as straightforward as previously thought.
Citing anxiety and mental health-related issues, Osaka elected to skip post-match media coverage. She also highlighted her efforts to speak with the French Tennis Federation backing the French Open and hinted at a lack of cooperation that led to her decision.
This week, officials from the federation spoke out about Osaka’s struggles with addressing the media and clarified their efforts to find compromise with her.
Director general Amelie Oudea-Castera assured that the FTF made more substantial overtures than those the 23-year-old presented in a Twitter announcement.
“We really tried to engage with Naomi several times, several ways, including on the practice courts, including in writing,” said Oudea-Castera. The federation’s director general also noted that the $15,000 fine for skipping interviews was a discounted total from the $20,000 fine normally imposed for this type of violation.
The director general added: “We only wanted to be at 15 because we wanted to send a message that we wouldn’t go to a default right away,” she said. “We wanted to have a progressive escalation should she continue not to commit to her obligations.”
Naomi Osaka’s critics have challenged her position following the French Open interviews, given the tennis star’s highly publicized platform related to American politics and activism.
As part of her Twitter announcement that she would skip out on the French Open interviews, Osaka noted that speaking to members of the media presented an opportunity to interact with people “who doubt me,” which was the basis for her anxiety.