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Mental Health Work & Wellbeing

Meditation app Calm pledges to pay fines in support of Naomi Osaka’s mental health message

By John Glenday | Reporter

June 4, 2021 | 3 min read

Calm, author of the eponymous meditation and sleep app, has stepped into a growing debate around the refusal of tennis player Naomi Osaka to participate in customary press conferences at the French Open by pledging to pay any incurred fines.

The San Francisco-based software provider is stepping in as guarantor, providing financial and emotional support for any player shunning grand slam press conferences on mental health grounds.

Naomi Osaka

Meditation app Calm has pledged to pay the fines of tennis players not wishing to take part in press conferences

Osaka hit the headlines after refusing to subject herself to a grilling by journalists during the tournament, with the second seed being slapped with a £10,600 fine for her no-show after winning her first-round match against Patricia Maria Tig. Osaka then withdrew from the competition before her second-round tie.

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Intervening in support of Osaka’s stance, Calm said it would donate £10,600 to Laureus Sport, an organization dedicated to improving the mental health of young people through sport, as a statement of support for the player.

Explaining its motivations, the software firm announced: “Calm will also pay the fine for players opting out of 2021 Grand Slam media appearances for mental health reasons, and we will match the fine with a $15,000 donation to @LaureusSport.”

Articulating her intent on Twitter before stepping onto the court, Osaka tweeted: “I’ve watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well. I believe that whole situation is kicking a person while they are down and I don’t understand the reasoning behind it.”

This principled stance went down well on Twitter, generating over 176,000 likes as social media users rallied behind the tennis star.

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