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Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open, speaks about battle with depression and anxiety, and will take time away from tennis


Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open and announced she is ‘taking some time away from the court’.

Osaka had been fined $15,000 for refusing to fulfil her media commitments after a 6-4 7-6 (4) first-round victory over Patricia Maria Tig.

AFP

Osaka had been threatened with expulsion from the French Open, but has decided to withdraw

Ahead of the tournament, she announced on social media she would not be doing any press at Roland Garros, citing her mental health.

She was threatened with expulsion from the tournament in a statement from organisers.

In a post on Twitter on Monday, Osaka announced her decision to withdraw from the tournament.

She wrote: “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.

“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept the my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer.

“More importantly I would never trivialise 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.

“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.

Osaka had won her first round match, but will now take some time away from the sport

Getty

Osaka had won her first round match, but will now take some time away from the sport

“Though the tennis press has always been kind (and I wanna apologise especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), 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.

“So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip 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“I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.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 apologising and saying that I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament as the Slams are intense.

“I’m gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans.

“Anyway hope you are all doing well and staying safe, love you guys. I’ll see you when I see you.”



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