Roland Garros

Sunday, 13 June 2021

Paris, France

Gilles Moretton

Guy Forget

Amelie Oudea-Castera

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. Guy and Gilles, do you regret the initial form of words you used when Naomi Osaka put her first post out about her mental health? Do you think in hindsight the response of the four Grand Slams was too hard?

GUY FORGET: It's a very sensible subject because we all know what Naomi brings to the game. We were very surprised when we read her first comments on the social network. Whether it's WTA or Roland Garros or any other Grand Slam, we are very sensible again of the physical and mental health of our players.

For any player to actually perform in front of an audience in a tournament, since you're a kid, it's a dream come true. It's a privilege. As I speak to you today, I wish I was 20 years younger and being able to go to the Chatrier court to play and face you guys after a win preferably, although sometimes I lost.

I mean, Roland Garros is the world's championship on clay courts. We want everyone to feel happy and to enjoy themselves here in our tournament.

When we found that out, we tried to reach out to her, and we couldn't. We tried to speak to her agent. At the time he didn't know how to react because he didn't even know how she really felt inside.

Little by little she was about to play, and all the other players were waiting to see what we're going to do, I mean, how she was going to react. It was very hard in terms of not knowing how to deal with that situation.

I think the fine, it was very symbolic, because if any player doesn't come in front of you guys to express her feelings, whether you win or lose, I think could be perceived as a lack of respect. So the fine was just to send a signal to the other players that you can't, you have to face the media.

On top of that, what really mattered is the way she felt. And we didn't know. All the Grand Slams stick together, which was I think very important.

We were kind of relieved when she made these comments a few days ago saying that she feels better and she kind of regretted the way it all happened. And we all did.

We look forward to see her again here next year, hopefully in Wimbledon in a few weeks, to see her performing in a great shape on the court.

GILLES MORETTON: Everything has been said by Guy. I want to tell you just our first concerns to know that Naomi feels better now. I know Nathalie Dechy took some news from her. She's in Florida, having rest with the family. That's the most important thing for us.

What we did all together with the slams, we had to do it. We need to have equity between all the players. There is some rules regarding the WTA and ATP. And I think we did the right choice, even if you feel like we shouldn't say anything, maybe not saying anything regarding Naomi. I think we did it the right way.

Now we want only one thing: she will recover as soon as possible and maybe she will be very in good shape and ready to talk to you at Wimbledon. We'll be very happy for that.

Q. You did big things. You organize everything the best way possible. After 45 Roland Garros I think I can say that. I would have loved to have speak in French before, because Eric said too much power the TV has in front of any tournament. I think French Federation is strong enough and Roland Garros a big tradition that you should be able to control all the situations even more. I'm talking about scheduling. You can do it especially when there is a curfew, to organize maybe a night session a little earlier. Another thing I did see is in the Australian Open and in US Open journalists who have no TV rights are able to have their own standup three, four minutes every night in one small room where maybe there is a logo on the back of their shoulders of the tournament, and we can do a standup without being forced to go outside of the gate, spend half an hour, 40 minutes to come, come back to the stadium. I think that is important. I don't see why you have to force the journalists to waste every day half an hour or 45 minutes when they already have troubles with their jobs to do a very simple thing. You need a small room like they have in Australia, the US Open. We do our standup. We don't infringe any TV rights because we don't show any image, just ourself. Last thing, if I may say so, even if doesn't seem important, to be honest the food at Roland Garros is the worst of the four slams. If you stay 14 hours in Roland Garros, the nourriture, the food, the restaurant, is by far of number four of the four slams. I think Roland Garros could do much, much better, if I may say so. That's the only I would say small defect of your organization, if I can say that. You can't stay all day with 11 francs. About the TV, you have to consider if you have a night session you have to go outside where there is no light. That's where the room is necessary. Sorry if it was a long speech.

AMELIE OUDEA-CASTERA: I think it's great to have your feedback on the operational dimension of the event. Thanks so much for the feedback.

I think the room for your standup, we'll definitely take that onboard and improve the experience next year. We're sorry where you had to wait a little bit at the entrance. It was such a huge logistic and operational challenge to arrange that within strong, strict, sanitary rules.

As regards your comment on food, you can imagine it really touches the heart of French people when we're being told that French food is not good. That's definitely an issue.

I want to mention I think we improved since last year. We got numerous feedbacks from the players that the food was better, with the sushi bar, with some very balanced salads, like the salad bar, et cetera. I think we will need to take more precise feedback on what we need to keep improving.

It's going to be very important for us because we know how precious it is to have a good food break when you have so long days. So count on us to do better next year. Thank you.

Q. Will you plan to rescind the fine handed out to Naomi Osaka in light of her revealing her mental health conditions? Are you committed to speaking to her later this year to sit down and discuss her problems which forced her withdrawal?

AMELIE OUDEA-CASTERA: You know, I mean, as Guy and Gilles explained, we really tried to engage with Naomi several times, several ways, including on the practice courts, including in writing.

The common statement you saw from the slams was preceded by a personal letter that we wrote to her without sending that to anyone. We kept that for her. Our only purpose was to explain to her the consequences she was exposing herself to by refusing to commit to her media obligations.

In her first message on social networks, she only mentioned fines. She said, I will get a considerable amount of fines and I will give that to charity, et cetera.

What we wanted her to have in mind was fines were not the only consequence she was exposing herself to. So we had to remind the rules of the game. There is a specific book explaining that. And when you regularly default your obligations without giving specific explanations in particular, you expose yourself to a default or more permanent sanction. We wanted her to know because it was a way to protect her to explain that to her.

On the 15,000 fine, you noticed we did not want to put that fine at the maximum. Maximum was 20. On purpose we only wanted to be at 15 because we wanted to send a message that we wouldn't go to a default right away. We wanted to have a progressive escalation should she continue not to commit to her obligations.

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. We were very much aligned with all the slams to make sure there was not a Roland Garros position, et cetera. 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.

And yes, of course, on mental health, we can do better. This is part of the roadmap we have with the other slams. We will take the initiative on the matter together.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
108719-1-1004 2021-06-13 10:25:00 GMT

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