Why did Naomi Osaka withdraw from French Open? Tennis star explains sudden decision to step away
Naomi Osaka’s 2021 French Open has come to an end.
The 23-year-old tennis star and four-time Grand Slam champion confirmed that she would withdraw from the tournament at Roland Garros ahead of her second-round matchup against Ana Bogdan.
In a Twitter post, Osaka detailed her decision to make such a move after refusing to talk to the media and revealed that she has “suffered long bouts of depression” since the 2018 U.S. Open.
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A couple parts of Osaka’s statement stand out above all. The first is when she explained her own mental health issues and why speaking to the media brings on “huge waves of anxiety.”
Osaka also outlined exactly why she instigated what effectively amounted to her media blackout. She was attempting to “exercise self-care” and shed light on rules that she believes are “quite outdated in parts.”
Of course, Osaka and the Tour had been at odds about her media blackout. The four Grand Slam tournaments released a joint statement and fined her $15,000 for skipping media obligations after Round 1 of the French Open and threatened a default if she continued to do so.
Osaka lamented that her “message could have been clearer” in her statement, so it would seem that the two sides have a lot to talk about moving forward if Osaka does want some of the “outdated” media rules to change.
Shortly after Osaka’s announcement, FFT president Gilles Moretton made a statement at a press conference and departed before taking any questions.
So, it would seem that tennis’ governing bodies are at least willing to discuss the issue with her in the future.
But, for now, the No. 2 player in the world will sit out the biggest clay-court event of the year. Before withdrawing, Osaka beat Patricia Maria Tig in two sets, (6-4, 7-6).
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