Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open on Monday amid threats from the organisation.
After she was threatened to be kicked on Sunday, the world champion took matters into her own hands citing issues with depression and social anxiety.
The 23 year old Naomi announced her withdrawal from Grand Slam event after backlash and threats from her disclosure last week that she wasn’t going to speak with the media during the annual clay-court tournament in Paris.
Naomi Osaka, the two-time U. S. Open champion had been fined $15,000 and was also threatened with expulsion from the tournament after she followed through on her promise not to answer questions after her first-round victory on Sunday at Roland Garros over 63rd-ranked Patricia Maria Tig.
She 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 others 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 wrote Monday in a Twitter post.
“I never wanted to be a distraction and 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.”
“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,” Osaka wrote.
“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“I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.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.”
Osaka added that she plans to “take some time away from the court now” for an undisclosed time.
Wimbledon, the third Grand Slam event of the season, is slated to begin in less than a month on June 28.“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 wrote to conclude her social media post.
“Anyways, hope you are all doing well and staying safe, love you guys [and] I’ll see you when I see you.”
However, Osaka was not alone as other stars stood with her in solidarity. Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was among those to express support for Osaka, the No. 2-ranked women’s player in the world.
“I am so sad about Naomi Osaka. I truly hope she will be ok,” the nine-time Wimbledon champion tweeted. “As athletes we are taught to take care of our body, and perhaps the mental [and] 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!”
Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry also tweeted that Osaka “shouldn’t ever have to make a decision like this — but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own. Major respect.”