Why Tennis Star Naomi Osaka Won’t Be Doing Press During the French Open

In a statement released on social media, Naomi Osaka announced she will not participate in press interviews during this year’s French Open, citing mental health concerns. Scroll on for her message.

By Kisha Forde May 27, 2021 12:15 PMTags
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Tennis champion Naomi Osaka is prioritizing her mental health.

Ahead of the 2021 French Open, the athlete took to her social media to share why she won't be doing press at the tournament.
"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," she said in her May 26 social media message. "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."
Along with sharing her statement on Twitter, the four-time Grand Slam champion also took to Instagram and uploaded clips of interviews of sports stars Venus Williams and Marshawn Lynch to accompany her words.

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"I've watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well," she went on to say. "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 journalists have interviewed me since I was young, so I have a friendly relationship with most of them."

Although athletes can often be fined if they don't participate in press conferences, the 23-year-old star expressed she is not focused on that obstacle.
"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 the centerpiece of their cooperation, then I just gotta laugh," she continued. "Anyways, I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity."

The record-breaking athlete did not participate in the French Open (also known as Roland Garros) in 2020 due to a hamstring injury. The French Open tournament will start on Sunday, May 30 and viewers can stream the event on Peacock.

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