Naomi Osaka has announced she's withdrawing from the French Open. The 23-year-old tennis star shared the news on social media, and it comes after the French Open fined her $15,000 for skipping a post-match press conference. Before the French Open began, Osaka decided she is boycotting talking to the media due to mental health reasons.
"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," Osaka said in a lengthy statement. "I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer.
"More important I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that. Anyone that knows me knows I'm introverted, and anyone that has seen me at tournaments will notice tht I'm often wearing headphones as they helps dulls my social anxiety."
Osaka went on to say that she's "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 engage and give you the best answers I can." She also revealed that during her time in Paris, she was feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences. I announced it pre-emptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that."
When Osaka was fined $15,000, the four Grand Slam tournaments said in a joint statement that Osaka could face stiffer punishment if she continued to avoid speaking to the media. "As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament (Code of Conduct article III T.) and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions (Code of Conduct article IV A.3.)," the statement read. Osaka did take part in an on-court interview after she defeated Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday. The four-time Grand Slam champion was set to face Ana Bogdan in the second round of the French Open on Tuesday.