World No.2 Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the ongoing French Open due to the circumstances surrounding her. She took to twitter to announce her decision and revealed that she has been a victim of depression since 2018.
Before the start of the French Open, the Japanese decided not to attend any press conferences because the journalists at times pestered her and hence it was not good for her mental health. Following her decision, she received a lot of backlash from players around the ATP and WTA tour.
But things started getting serious when Roland Garros issued an official statements on her. The Roland Garros referee fined her $15,000 and warned her. The joint grand slam statement also read that if she continues to skip press conferences, she could even be banned from playing the Majors.
The statement was issued after her first round win, when Osaka missed the press conferences. Even at Stade Roland Garros, talks were surrounded over Osaka’s decision and players were often asked to comment about the same.
‘I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018’: Naomi Osaka
Due to this chaos, Osaka decided to withdraw from the ongoing French Open. She wrote 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.”
She also added that how she wasn’t using the depression angle to get away with things and how she has suffered depression since 2018. “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.”
Naomi has always been an introvert and spoke about the same in her open letter. She revealed how she keeps the headphones on to avoid social anxiety. “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.”
‘The rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that’: Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka also spoke about how the rules are outdated and very harsh. “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 apo zing and saying that I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament as the Slams are intense.”
Osaka will now be taking an indefinite time off the court. She said that she will be back when she feels better and said that she will definitely want to work with the tour to have some kind of solution or this. “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. Anyways hope you are all doing well and staying safe, love you guys I’ll see you when I see you.”