Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from Roland Garros, one day after the French Open fined her $15,000 and told her that she may be expelled from the event for refusing to speak to the press during the event.
Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open
“The best thing for the tournament, the other players and my wellbeing is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” the world number two wrote on Twitter.
Osaka, 23, who won her first round match against Patricia Maria Tig and was set to face Ana Bogdan in the second round, issued a statement last Wednesday announcing her intention to skip her Roland Garros media obligations due to the negative effects of her interactions with the press on her mental health.
Osaka released this statement on Twitter:
Osaka said: “Hey everyone, this isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.
“I never wanted to be a distraction. I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.
“The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that. Anyone that knows me knows that I’m introverted, and anyone that’s seen me at tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety.
“Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologize especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media. I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can.
“So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences. I announced it pre-emptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.
“I wrote privately to the tournament apologizing and saying that I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament as the Slams are intense. I’m gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press, and fans. Anyways hope you are all doing well and staying safe, love you guys. I’ll see you when I see you.”
Phil Mickelson, a six-time major champion, also expressed his support on Twitter, “She’s a person who has openly admitted she’s struggling mentally. Let’s not place our own expectations on her, rather let’s practice empathy and support her.”
I am so sad about Naomi Osaka.I truly hope she will be ok. As athletes we are taught to take care of our body, and perhaps the mental & emotional aspect gets short shrift. This is about more than doing or not doing a press conference. Good luck Naomi- we are all pulling for you!— Martina Navratilova (@Martina) May 31, 2021
“Everyone talks about mental health after someone commits suicide but ridicules everyone who tries to protect their mental health. You are strong for standing up and speaking out and even giving up the game you love to protect your mental health. I salute you young queen.” — West Indies cricket international Carlos Brathwaite.
“Just a question for the tennis authorities – is it better for your sport to have Naomi Osaka playing and not speaking to the media or not playing at all?” — Stan Van Gundy, head coach of NBA team the New Orleans Pelicans.