“No Special Penalties”: Naomi Osaka Gets the Liberty To Avoid Press Conferences at Tokyo Olympics 2020

Published 06/21/2021, 6:24 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021 Picture taken May 30, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts during her first round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


Tennis ace Naomi Osaka has been in the news lately for certain incidents that have happened off the tennis courts. Just before the French Open 2021 could officially begin, she announced that she would avoid attending press conferences due to mental health issues.

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This decision was not well received by the organizers and left the tennis community divided. Due to pressure mounting on the player, she decided to withdraw from the event after her first-round win; the 23-year-old player was clearly not in the right frame of mind.

Recently, the International Olympic Committee released a statement that indirectly supported Naomi Osaka’s stance. During the Tokyo Olympics 2020, athletes will not be required to attend press conferences but would mostly have to do so once the event ends.

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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
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Naomi Osaka was fined at the French Open 2021

The International Olympic Committee released a statement that stated, “The IOC has never obliged athletes to hold a press conference.” There are no special penalties for not participating.”

The Japanese Olympic Committee, which has the say over media requirements of Japanese athletes, said, “There are no special penalties for not participating.”

The Japanese star was fined $15,000 for skipping the press conference post her first-round win at Roland Garros. And as compared to the French Open 2021, athletes will not be fined at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 for skipping pressers. 

In other news, Osaka has decided to give the Wimbledon Championships 2021 a miss. Following her recent activities, this decision was expected of her. On the brighter side, she will be seen at the Olympic Games, especially since it is taking place in Japan, her country of origin. 

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The last month has not been the best for the Japanese player. Her performances on the courts have not been of the highest level. Prior to this period, Osaka had won the Australian Open 2021 and towards the end of the previous season, she had won the title at the US Open 2020.

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The tennis world will hope Naomi can find the right space and get back to her usual winning ways. She is one of the most important players not just in the women’s Tour but for the sport in general. It will be a positive sight when she steps on the court next. 

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Rohan Kollare

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Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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