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Naomi Osaka Case: Striking A Balance Between Media Obligations & Mental Health Concerns

Tennis Clay Court
Thursday, 24 June 2021 By Nick Humphreys, William Wilson

On 31 May 2021, shortly after winning her first-round match, Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open tennis competition at Roland Garros. The withdrawal followed five days of controversy and discussion following Miss Osaka’s announcement on Twitter four days before the start of the French Open that she was “not going to do any press during Roland Garros” on the basis that it would be detrimental to her mental health[1].

This article examines:

  • the current contractual obligations on players when taking part in tournaments,
  • the tournament organisers obligations to protect players’ mental health, and
  • whether a balance can be struck between these two competing interests.

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About the Author

William Wilson

William Wilson

William is a solicitor in the London office of international law firm Penningtons Manches Cooper specialising in disputes. He advises football coaches and managers on disputes with their former employers and advises governing bodies and others operating in the sports sector in relation to general commercial disputes. William has a particular interest in football and cricket and is a playing member of the MCC.

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Nick Humphreys

Nick Humphreys

Nick Humphreys is a Partner at Pennington Manches Cooper's London office specialising in both contentious and non-contentious employment work. He has particular expertise in the international aspects of employment law, industrial relations law and in the employment aspects of sport – particularly professional football. He advises on a wide range of HR problems, policies and strategy including the management of large-scale business reorganisations.

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