“We Took Care of Her”: FFT General Manager Opens up Naomi Osaka’s French Open 2021 Row

Published 06/13/2021, 7:30 AM EDT
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


World No.2 Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open 2021 after playing just a single match. Before that, she boycotted the media at the Grand Slam, citing mental health issues. However, she received a lot of backlash after this decision and the four Grand Slam organizers even issued a notice saying they would mull barring her from competing at the Majors if she avoids the press conferences.

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After Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal, tennis governing bodies realized their mistake and withdrew their order. It also became evident that the Japanese star had her own mental stress to deal with already and required some time off the court.

However, in a recent interview, the General Manager of the French Tennis Federation (FFT), Amelie Oudea-Castera, presented their side of the story and mentioned that they tried to contact Osaka before issuing the notice.

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‘Tried to engage with Naomi Osaka’– FFT General Manager

Castera tried to defend the FFT and highlighted that the body didn’t just talk about the fines and punishment to her. She revealed that they even sent a letter to communicate with her before passing any order.

“We really tried to engage with Naomi Osaka, by many ways. The statement you saw from the Four Slams was preceded by a letter. In her first message in social, she only mentions fines,” said Castera in the interview.

“We were pragmatic”- FFT on dealing with Naomi Osaka

In the statement, Castera highlighted that they followed a practical approach by talking to Osaka. She also stated that the FFT took care of her and extended their full support by even minimizing the fine.

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

“What we wanted her to have in mind was that fines wasn’t the only rule applying. We wanted her to know, to protect her. On the 15.000 dollars fines, we didn’t want to be at the maximum, which is 20, it was a way to prove we didn’t want escalation. We were pragmatic,” added the General Manager of the FFT.

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Castera explained that it was a very difficult situation, but the FFT handled it with care. She also emphasized that the FFT has urged organizers of even other Grand Slams to work on mental health-related problems.

“We were aligned with all the Slams. We took care of her. It’s a very sensitive and difficult situation. We treated it with care. We can do better on mental health with the other Slams and we will take the initiative on that,” concluded Castera.

After withdrawing from French Open 2021, Osaka is not playing at the WTA Berlin 2021 as well. Fans expect her to recover soon and return to the court before the Wimbledon Championships 2021. Will she be able to lift another Grand Slam title this year?

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Anshul Singh

1079 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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