Things will be a bit different for Naomi Osaka at her next French Open appearance. The tennis champion has announced that she will not participate in press conferences during the upcoming French Open tournament. She cited preserving her mental health and avoiding distractions as the reason for her decision.
"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," Osaka told her fans through Twitter and Instagram.
"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."
Osaka's decision to skip out on press conferences received the ultimate seal of approval from possibly the greatest athlete of the last two decades, Serena Williams. Williams replied to her announcement by simply telling her to steer her career in the direction she sees best fit.
"Girl, do you. Your life is yours to live," Williams responded.
Osaka will have to put her money where her mouth is if she plans to follow through with her plan. Players can be fined up to $20,000 for each missed news conference. With that said, she can easily foot the bill. In the last twelve months, the tennis champion has reportedly brought home upwards of $55 million.
"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," Osaka continued.
"I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity."
Osaka will begin her run at the French Open this Sunday.
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