Naomi Osaka, 23, PULLS OUT of French Open in wake of her media boycott as she says she is ‘taking time away from the court’ and reveals her depression and social anxiety struggles
- World No 2 Naomi Osaka has pulled out of the rest of this year’s French Open
- The Japanese won her opening match against Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday
- But her boycott of media duties has overshadowed the start of the tournament
- The grand slams reacted strongly to Osaka’s move, and she has now pulled out
Naomi Osaka has announced that she has pulled out from the French Open due to the uproar caused by her media duties boycott.
The 23-year-old world No 2 won her opening match against Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday but her decision not to take part in press conferences or interviews has overshadowed the start of the tournament at Roland Garros.
All four grand slams reacted strongly to Osaka’s move just hours after her victory, releasing a joint statement on Sunday threatening to potentially disqualify her and impose a ban from future tournaments should she not reconsider her boycott.
Naomi Osaka has announced that she will be withdrawing from this year’s French Open due to uproar caused by her refusal to do media duties
But Osaka, who cited mental health reasons for her boycott, announced her withdrawal by writing on Twitter: ‘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.
Osaka revealed she had suffered periods of depression since winning her first grand slam title at the US Open three years ago, and stated that talking to the media had triggered her anxiety.
‘I never wanted to be be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer,’ she added. ‘More importantly, I would never trivialise mental health or use the term lightly.
The world No 2 won her opening match against Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday
But the start to the tournament has been overshadowed by her boycott of media duties
‘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 I’m introverted, and anyone that has seen me at the 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 apologise 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.’
‘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,’ she continued.
Osaka released a statement earlier this week saying she would boycott the press at the French Open, citing mental health concerns as the reason behind her decision
Osaka said she had suffered bouts of depression since winning her first slam title at the US Open in 2018
‘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 apologising 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.’
Osaka was also fined an initial £10,800 following her victory on Sunday.
Her sister Mari attempted to defend Osaka’s stance with a Reddit post, only to delete her words later and admit she had ‘made the situation worse.’
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