Naomi Osaka announces that she is withdrawing from Roland-Garros
Naomi Osaka has announced that she will be stepping down from Roland Garros due to the fury over her boycott of media duties.
The world number two won her opener against Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday but her decision not to go to press conferences or interviews was the tournament’s biggest talking point.
Grand Slam tournaments reacted strongly to Osaka’s decision, issuing a joint statement on Sunday that threatened her with possible disqualification and a ban from future tournaments if she did not reconsider.
Osaka, who cited mental health reasons, wrote on Twitter: “Hi everyone, this is not a situation I never imagined or wanted 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 am stepping back so that everyone can focus on the tennis that is taking place in Paris.”
Osaka said she has suffered bouts of depression since winning her first slam title at the US Open in 2018 and talking to the media triggered anxiety.
“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and that my message could have been clearer,” she continued on Twitter. “Most importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.
“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 alleviates my social anxiety.
“While the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I want to apologize especially to all the cool journalists I’ve hurt), I’m not a natural public speaker and I get huge waves of anxiety before speaking to media around the world. “
Osaka’s sister, Mari, tried to explain her brother’s position in more detail with an article on the Reddit website, highlighting her sense of vulnerability over clay, but then deleted her words and replaced them. with an apology, saying she thought she had made it worse.
Osaka’s Twitter message continued, “So here in Paris, I already felt vulnerable and anxious, so I thought it was better to take care of yourself and skip the press conferences.
“I announced it preemptively because I have the impression that the rules are sometimes out of date and I wanted to underline it.
“I wrote privately to the tournament to apologize and say I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament as the slams are intense.
“I’m going to take some time off the court 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.”