The Naomi Osaka situation was handled ‘very, very well’ by the French Tennis Federation, says its president Gilles Moretton.
Osaka hit the headlines by announcing she would not take part in any press conferences at this year’s Roland Garros just a few days before the tournament began to protect her mental health.
It is a requirement of all players to make themselves available to the media during the Grand Slam, and the Japanese star was warned it could lead to hefty fines, which she was happy to accept.
However, when Osaka refused to speak to media following her first win, a joint statement was released from all four Grand Slam tournaments saying that it wouldn’t be tolerated and that if it continued it would head to harsher penalties and maybe even expulsion from the event.
In reply, Osaka withdrew herself from Roland Garros, causing a media frenzy about whether players should or shouldn’t have the power to make these decisions which could give them an advantage in the tournament.
Now despite heavy criticism, Morreton says that he thinks the French Tennis Federation handled it well and would never have actually expelled her from the competition.
“I think we did very, very well,” Gilles Moretton told the New York Times.
“The goal was not to penalise her (Osaka). It was to say clearly: Here’s the rule.
“I think we would have kept giving her fines, I don’t think we would have gone to a tougher sanction, because we understood the situation.
“But it’s the rule. The rule is there to be fair to all the players.”
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