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Naomi Osaka says she won't speak to the media at French Open

Steve Gardner
USA TODAY

The world's No. 2-ranked women's tennis player, Naomi Osaka of Japan, announced Wednesday that she will not be answering questions from the media during this year's French Open.

In a social media post, Osaka -- a four-time Grand Slam champion -- said she is taking the unusual step as a way to preserve her mental health.

"We're often sat there and asked questions that we've been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I'm just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me," Osaka wrote.

She compared the media's questioning of athletes after a loss to "kicking a person while they're down."

The reigning U.S. Open and Australian Open champion said her decision is "nothing personal to the tournament," but is her way of sending a message to the organizations that "continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centerpiece of their cooperation."

Naomi Osaka lost to American Jessica Pegula at the Italian Open two weeks ago in Rome.

Typically players who don't fulfill their media responsibilities after their matches are fined. Osaka said she's prepared for the consequences, but hopes that "the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity."

The French Open at Roland Garros Stadium in Paris begins May 30. Iga Swiatek of Poland is the defending women's champion. Osaka did not play at last year's tournament because of a sore hamstring.