Naomi Osaka withdraws from Roland Garros, citing mental health


The four-time major winner posted a statement on Twitter saying she was stepping down so “everyone can focus on the tennis in Paris again”, adding that she “will take time away from the court”.

Osaka has revealed that she has “suffered from long periods of depression” since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018.

Last Wednesday, citing mental health reasons, Osaka announced on social media that she would not attend any press conferences during the French Open, hoping that the fines she incurred would be donated to a charity in Mental Health.

After winning in the straight sets on Sunday, Osaka was fined $ 15,000 for not speaking to the media, Roland Garros said in a statement.

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Osaka beat Romanian Patricia Maria Tig in straight sets at Roland Garros on Sunday.
“This is not a situation that I ever imagined or wanted when I posted a few days ago”, Osaka said in his statement.

“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I am stepping back so that everyone can focus again on the tennis that is happening in Paris.

“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing wasn’t ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize sanity or use the term to the slight.

“The truth is, I have suffered from long periods of depression since the US Open in 2018 and have had a hard time coping with it.

“Anyone who knows me knows I’m an introvert, and anyone who’s seen me at tournaments will notice that I often wear headphones because it helps alleviate my social anxiety.

“Although the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I want to apologize especially to all the cool journalists I have hurt), I am not a natural speaker and I experience tremendous waves of anxiety before speaking to the world’s media.

“I get very nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best possible answers. So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious, so I thought it best to show it off. exercise caution and avoid press conferences.

“I announced it as a precaution because I feel the rules are quite outdated in part and I wanted to point it out. I wrote privately at the tournament to apologize and say I would be over. ‘happy to speak with them after the tournament as a Slam are intense.

“I’m going to step away from the pitch a bit now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways to improve things for the players, the press and the fans.”

Following his decision to step down from media duties last week, the French Open came under fire for posting a tweet – which it has since deleted – with photos of Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff engaging in media duties with Caption: “They got the mission.”

Rennae Stubbs, quadruple doubles grand slam winner, tweeted: “It’s a serious shadow of Roland Garros and the FFT (French Tennis Federation).

Osaka serves the ball to Romanian Patricia Maria Tig.

“I understand your attempt to make a point, but it’s not a good look. I mean these players in particular are a great look for tennis, but making a player feel guilty and humiliating him is NOT a good look. good look for a fed tennis. “

Gilles Moretton, president of the French Tennis Federation, said in a statement that the FFT was “sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka”.

“The result of Naomi’s withdrawal from Roland Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the fastest possible, and we look forward to having Naomi at our tournament next year,” said Moretton’s statement. “Like all Grand Slam tournaments, the WTA, ATP and ITF, we remain very committed to the well-being of all athletes and to the continuous improvement of every aspect of the player experience in our tournament. , including with the media, as we have always tried to do.

Great tennis player Martina Navratilova tweeted about Osaka’s decision on Monday.

“I really hope she’s okay,” Navratilova tweeted. “As athletes we are taught to take care of our bodies, and maybe the mental and emotional aspect is overlooked. It’s not just about doing or not doing a press conference. “

After her victory over Romanian Patricia Maria Tig in straight sets on Sunday, Osaka, 23, did not speak to the media, an action for which she was fined.

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Roland Garros said he asked Osaka “to reconsider his position and tried in vain to speak to him to check his well-being, to understand the specifics of his problem and what could be done to remedy it on the spot”.

“Following Naomi Osaka’s lack of commitment, the Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer her their support, highlight their commitment for the good -be of all the athletes and suggest dialogue on the issue, “said the statement. “He was also reminded of his obligations, the consequences of not respecting them and that the rules should apply equally to all players.”

Organizers said repeated violations could lead to tougher penalties, including a tournament default.

The WTA Tour issued a statement saying mental health and awareness about it is one of the “highest priorities for the WTA”.

“We remain here to support and assist Naomi in any way we can and hope to see her back in the field soon,” the WTA statement said.

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