French Open chiefs on Sunday insisted that they treated world number two ,Naomi Osaka with “care and respect” after being accused of heavy-handedness towards the Japanese star who withdrew from Roland Garros, revealing she had suffered long term with depression.
The World number two and Four-Time Tennis Grand Slam Champion Osaka was fined $15,000 and threatened with Grand Slam disqualification for refusing to attend mandatory press conferences.
“I think we really cared for her. We really tried to engage. We were pragmatic in the way we handled the progressive approach to sanctions,” said French Tennis Federation director-general Amelie Oudea-Castera as the tournament closed on Sunday.
“We were very much aligned with all the Slams to make sure this was not a Roland Garros position. We took care of her since she withdrew from the tournament.
“It was a very sensitive and difficult situation, but we believe we really treated that with respect, with care.”
Osaka’s announcement sparked much debate in the tennis and sports world, and other players, notably 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal and No. 1-ranked Ash Barty, have said they respect Osaka’s right to take a stance but explained that they consider speaking to reporters part of the job.