Noami Osaka copped a $US15,000 fine on Sunday for refusing the obligatory post-match media at the French Open with threats of further sanctions now hanging over her head.
Officials indicated that continued refusal could lead to disqualification for the four-time Grand Slam champion.
The second seed who vowed on social media this week not to speak to media to preserve her “:mental health,” got the official bad news in a stern letter from the Grand Slam Committee which oversees the four tennis majors.
Osaka won her opening match a few hours earlier, defeating Romanian Patricia Tig 6-4, 7-6(4) but did not front up for questions afterwards, making good on her indefinite threat.
But then tennis officialdom lumbered into action:
“Naomi Osaka today chose not to honour her contractual media obligations,” a statement read. “The Roland-Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine, in keeping with article III H. of the Code of Conduct.
“We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations during the tournament, she would be exposing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement consequences.
“Repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions.”
Tennis bosses added that they had tried in vain to reach the second seed to discuss her personal issue – without success.
“Roland-Garros teams asked her to reconsider her position and tried unsuccessfully to speak with her to check on her well-being, understand the specifics of her issue and what might be done to address it on site.
“She was reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players. :
“We want to underline that rules are in place to ensure all players are treated exactly the same, no matter their stature, beliefs or achievement.
“There is nothing more important than ensuring no player has an unfair advantage over another, which unfortunately is the case in this situation if one player refuses to dedicate time to participate in media commitments while the others all honour their commitments.”
Multimillionaire Osaka has not indicated her future course of action though she said this week she would happily cop all fines which came her way.
She is due to play in the second round against another Romanian opponent, Ana Bogdan.