Unlike Naomi Osaka, Why Serena Williams Will Not Be Fined for Skipping Media Duties at Wimbledon Championships 2021?

Published 07/01/2021, 9:17 AM EDT
Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – June 27, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. during a press conference Pool via REUTERS/Florian Eisele


Media duties have been a heated topic ever since Naomi Osaka skipped her press conference at French Open 2021 and was subsequently fined for it. Now, 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams has had an emotional exit from Wimbledon Championships 2021 following which she too skipped her first-round press conference, but it is likely that the authorities won’t fine her for the same.

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Serena was going all good against Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the first round before she slipped and hurt her right knee. She eventually had to withdraw because of her injury. That was also a reason why she skipped her press conference.

Serena Williams leaves court as she retires from her first-round match. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

What does the rule book say?

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According to the Grand Slam rule book, Serena Williams will not be fined if she skipped her press conference because of an injury. The fine for skipping media duties can go up to $20,000, but Serena has a justifiable reason to not get fined.

“Unless injured and physically unable to appear, a player or team must attend the post-match media conference(s) organized immediately or within thirty (30) minutes after the conclusion of each match, including walkovers, whether the player or team was the winner or loser, unless such time is extended or otherwise modified by the Referee for good cause.”

Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts after sustaining an injury. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

Why was Naomi Osaka fined and Serena Williams not?

Naomi Osaka had shocked the tennis world after she had declined to attend her pre-tournament press conference before French Open 2021 on the grounds of mental health. She continued her boycott after her first-round match. Hence, the Grand Slam board took a decision to fine her $15,000.

Moreover, the Grand Slam board had issued a warning of further suspension from other Grand Slams, if she had continued her boycott. Seeing this response, Osaka took the drastic decision to withdraw from Roland Garros.

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She had further revealed that she had anxiety issues whenever she communicated with the media and had been dealing with depression since 2018.

On Serena’s injury, there hasn’t been any update as the player didn’t sit for the press conference. She had already announced her withdrawal from Tokyo Olympics 2021, so it could be that we could see Serena straightaway in August.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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