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Naomi Osaka making ‘phenomenal error’ in refusing press duties at French Open

·2-min read
 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka has been accused of making a “phenomenal error” in her decision to forego all press conferences at the upcoming French Open.

The world No2 said in a statement that she would miss her media duties in a bid to protect her mental health even if, under current rules, that would equate to a £14,000 fine for every press conference missed.

But French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton said: “It is a phenomenal error and it shows to what extent it is necessary to have strong governance. What is happening is not, in my opinion, acceptable. It is tennis we want to promote.”

Meanwhile, world No1 Novak Djokovic said he understood press conferences “can be very unpleasant” but added: “It is part of the sport and part of your life on the tour. This is something we have to do otherwise we will get fined.”

Djokovic has been put in the same half of the draw as Rafael Nadal, who is bidding for a 14th French Open title, and Roger Federer. The Serbian potentially meets Federer in the quarter-finals with Nadal lying in wait in the last four.

British No1 Dan Evans, who is seeded 25th for a tournament in which he has never made it out of the first round in three attempts, faces Djokovic’s countryman Miomir Kecmanovic in his opener.

Meanwhile, Cameron Norrie, who reached the final of his last warm-up event the Lyon Open, has been drawn against a qualifier but potentially lines up against Nadal in the third round.

In the women’s draw, British No1 Johanna Konta begins against Sorana Cristea, the Romanian who knocked her out at last year’s US Open. Fellow Briton Heather Watson, meanwhile, takes on Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas.

World No1 Ash Barty has been drawn against American Bernardo Pera, ranked 70th in the world, for her opener at Roland Garros while the aforementioned Osaka meets another Romanian in Maria Tig.

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