No major player has yet publicly expressed a desire to follow Osaka’s lead by skipping press conferences. The biggest stars of the previous generation – Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Djokovic and Serena Williams – regularly answered questions after every game.
Tennis executives fear Osaka is setting a precedent at a time when social media has given stars a broad platform to reach audiences directly. But Grand Slam leaders stressed that the news media still played an important role.
“A central element of the Grand Slam rules is the players’ responsibility to engage with the media, regardless of the outcome of their match, a responsibility that the players take on for the good of the sport, the fans and for themselves. », Indicates their press release. . “These interactions allow players and the media to share their perspective and for players to tell their story. The facilitation of media to a wide range of channels, both traditional and digital, is a major contributor to the development and growth of our sport and the fan base of individual players.
Osaka was not silent after their 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over Tig on the Philippe Chatrier main court on Sunday. She answered three questions from on-field interviewer Fabrice Santoro after the match and a few other questions on the way out of the pitch from Wowow, the Japanese broadcaster with whom she is under contract.
But she declined all other TV requests and skipped the press conference. As the highest paid female athlete, she can afford the $ 15,000 fine and other fines that may be imposed on her. The bigger question is whether she wants to risk jeopardizing her participation at Roland Garros. She wrestled on clay and never made it past the third round in Paris, but the tournament remains one of the mainstays of the sport.
The next opportunity to escalate or defuse the tension comes in the second round on Wednesday against Romania’s Ana Bogdan.