Naomi Osaka withdrew from the 2021 French Open on Monday, a day after beingfor refusing to appear at tournament press conferences, writing that the media appearances had caused “huge waves of anxiety.”
Osaka had announced on the eve of the Grand Slam tournament that she would not speak to the media, to protect her sanity.
“I now think the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I am stepping back so that everyone can focus again on the tennis that is happening in Paris,” wrote the quadruple winner of the Grand Slam in a press release. long message on social networks. “I never wanted to be a distraction.”
World No.2 stressed she will never trivialize mental health, revealing she has suffered from depression since the 2018 US Open –which had both players in tears.
She added that she felt anxiety before speaking to media around the world. “I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best possible answers,” she wrote, adding that she wears headphones to help ease her social anxiety.
The 23-year-old apologized to “nice reporters” for not speaking to them, saying they had always been nice to her. She also said she wrote privately to the tournament to apologize and that “when the time comes, I want to discuss ways to make things better for the players, the press and the fans.”
By then, she announced, she would be moving away from the courtroom.
Osaka announced on Wednesday that she would not be speaking to the media at Roland Garros, saying that requiring athletes to talk about their losses after a match is like “kicking a person while they are away. Earth “. Her decision, she said at the time, was “nothing personal for the tournament.”
After beating Patricia Maria Tig on the first day of the tournament on Sunday, she participated in the traditional on-field interview, but did not attend the post-match press conference that followed.
It was at this point that the four Grand Slam organizations released a joint statement in support of player mental health, reminding her of her media obligations but ultimately fining her $ 15,000 and threatening her with a tougher sanction if she continued to skip press conferences.