Naomi Osaka skipped her post-match information convention on the French Open on Sunday, as promised.
That did not imply she prevented a query about her issues succeeding on pink clay.
Osaka returned to Roland Garros after skipping the journey final time, handing over a mistake-filled 6-Four, 7-6 (Four) victory over 63rd-ranked Patricia Maria Tig at Court docket Philippe Chatrier on Day 1 of the Grand Slam match.
After the 2020 French Open was pushed to a September begin with a restrict of 1,000 spectators per day due to the coronavirus outbreak, issues have been nearer to regular Sunday: It was a sun-kissed Might day and greater than 5,000 followers permitted, with a delay of solely every week this yr on account of COVID-19 issues.
Whereas not fairly again to its packed pre-pandemic self, Roland Garros did bubble with cheers and tennis.
Different outcomes maybe have been extra newsworthy — three-time main champion Angelique Kerber’s third straight first-round loss in Paris, for instance — however the No. 2-ranked Osaka’s actions after her match have been of curiosity.
That is as a result of she declared in the course of the week that she gained’t take part in information conferences in Paris — and she or he didn’t do a pre-tournament session with the media. What remained unclear was whether or not she would take part within the perfunctory alternate of pleasantries with on-court “interviewers” who lob softball questions so spectators can hear one thing from match winners.
Because it turned out, Osaka did go forward with that chat with former participant Fabrice Santoro, who’s hardly a journalist and kindly provided to assist Osaka by carrying the flowers she was given by the match.
Santoro truly did elevate the subject of the occasion’s floor, noting that Osaka’s Grand Slam titles solely have come on arduous courts.
She has gained the Australian Open twice, together with this yr, and the U.S. Open twice, together with final yr. However she by no means has been previous the third spherical on the French Open.
“I might say it’s a piece in progress,” Osaka stated about her sport on clay. “Hopefully the extra I play, the higher it can get.”
Osaka wrote in a Twitter publish Wednesday that she was not going to take part in the usual back-and-forth with the media in Paris — the type of factor athletes in varied sports activities do as a matter after all. She framed it as a psychological well being concern, saying that it creates self-doubt to should reply questions after a loss.
Gamers at Grand Slam tournaments are required to attend information conferences if requested to take action; refusing is punishable by fines of as much as $20,000, which isn’t a lot of an enormous deal to Osaka, the world’s highest-earning feminine athlete because of endorsement offers totaling tens of tens of millions of dollars.
French Open organizers didn’t instantly reply to emailed questions on Osaka’s press convention and whether or not she can be fined.
“It’s her personal selection. I feel she’s able to making her personal decisions and clearly she’s going to do at all times what’s greatest for her,” Tig stated. “I feel that’s what’s taking place now. It’s her selection of doing what she feels is greatest for her.”
As for her impression of Osaka’s on-court capability on clay, Tig provided this evaluation: “If she wins, she’ll get used to it. She will be able to play pretty much as good on clay as she performs on arduous courts.”
Osaka confirmed how Sunday: controlling factors together with her attacking sport. She gained 31 of 35 factors when her first serve landed in and accrued 39 winners — greater than twice as many as Tig’s 18.
Osaka subsequent faces 102nd-ranked Ana Bogdan, who swept apart Italian qualifier Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1, 6-Three.
The 26th-seeded Kerber was overwhelmed 6-2, 6-Four by Anhelina Kalinina, a qualifier from Ukraine ranked 139th and making her match debut.
Roland Garros thus stays the one Grand Slam title that Kerber hasn’t gained: She was the champion on the Australian Open and U.S. Open in 2016 and Wimbledon in 2018.
Additionally, 2019 Australian Open semifinalist and 2020 French Open quarterfinalist Danielle Collins defeated Wang Xiyu 6-2, Four-6, 6-Four.
In males’s motion, 12th seeded Pablo Carreno Busta beat Norbert Gombos 6-Three, 6-Four, 6-Three, and 27th-seeded Fabio Fognini broke a racket alongside the best way to eliminating French wild-card entry Gregoire Barrere 6-Four, 6-1, 6-Four.