Paris: Japan’s Naomi Osaka shocked the tennis world by withdrawing from the French Open on Monday after deciding to boycott media duty after the match, stating that she had been suffering from depression for almost three years.
Osaka said in the making of the tournament that she would not attend mandatory press conferences for the players after the matches, adding that questioning by journalists emphasized her mental health.
The four-time Grand Slam champion took advantage of her threat on Sunday when she did not hold a press conference after winning her first round match.
He was fined $15,000 by a Roland Garros referee, and Grand Slam organizers later issued a strongly worded statement warning of possible expulsion from the French Open and future majors if he failed to change his stance. doing.
On Monday, the world No 2 decided to take matters into his own hands to end the impasse.
“This is not a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago,” Osaka, 23, said on Twitter.
“I think the best thing now for the tournament, other players and for my own good is that I withdraw so that everyone can focus on tennis going on in Paris.
“I never wanted to get distracted and I accept that my time was not ideal and my message could be clear.”
Osaka, one of the biggest names in the women’s sport, said she had been suffering from depression since 2018.
“The truth is that since the US Open in 2018, I have suffered from depression for a long time and I have had a lot of difficulty in dealing with it,” he said.
“Anyone who knows me knows that I am an introvert, and anyone who has seen me in the tournament will notice that I often wear headphones because it reduces my social anxiety.”
The tournament’s organizer, the French Tennis Federation (FFT), called his return “unfortunate”.
FFT President Gilles Moreton said in a statement, “We are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka. We wish her the best and speediest recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi in our tournament next year.” “
He said that the major tennis bodies are committed to improving the well-being of the athletes and their tournament experience, including their interactions with the media.
The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) said that mental health is one of the organization’s top priorities. “We remain here to support and assist Naomi in any way we can and we look forward to her return to court soon,” the statement said.
After defeating Serena Williams to win her first Major at the 2018 US Open, Osaka was booed by the crowd during the presentation ceremony as her victory was overshadowed by the American’s displeasure after a row with the umpire.
Osaka said that since then she has remained in the headlines. On Monday, she said she suffers “huge waves of anxiety” before speaking to the world’s media.
American Sofia Kenin, who won the Australian Open and runner-up at last year’s Roland Garros, said dealing with the media demands of elite tennis was “definitely not easy” but players “signed up for it.”
“From outside, there are expectations from the sponsors and everyone. You just have to manage it somehow. You have to have a good team that supports you,” said the American.
Osaka said she would be away from tennis for some time and hoped to meet with the organizers of the game later to improve the system.
“I personally apologized for the tournament, saying I would be happy to speak with him after the tournament because the slams are intense,” Osaka said.
“I will take some time off the court now, but when the time is right, I really want to work with the tour so that we can make things better for the players, the press and the fans.”
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