Osaka says she won’t do news conferences at French Open

Sports

Naomi Osaka of Japan returns the ball to Jessica Pegula of the United States during their match at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. Osaka lost against Pegula 7-6, 6-2. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

PARIS (AP) — Tennis star Naomi Osaka says she is not going to speak to the media during the upcoming French Open.

The world’s highest-earning female athlete wrote in a Twitter post Wednesday that she hopes the “considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity.”

The French Open is scheduled to begin Sunday in Paris. Osaka heads into the clay-court tournament ranked No. 2 in the world.

The 23-year-old Osaka, who was born in Japan and now is based in the United States, has won four Grand Slam titles. That includes last year’s U.S. Open and the Australian Open this February.

“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes mental health and this very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one,” wrote Osaka, who was selected as the AP Female Athlete of the Year in 2020. “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 added: “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.”

She later posted a video clip of Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch’s famous “I’m just here so I don’t get fined” appearance at a Super Bowl media day.

Tennis players are required to attend post-match news conferences at major tournaments if members of the media ask them to.

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More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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