Naomi Osaka says ‘best thing’ for Roland Garros would be withdrawal

Naomi Osaka says ‘best thing’ for Roland Garros would be withdrawal

Naomi Osaka of Japan at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden in California.

Sean M. Haffey | Getty Images

Naomi Osaka wrote on Twitter Monday that “the best thing for the tournament” would be for her to retire from Roland Garros, a dramatic turn of events for the four-time Grand Slam champion and former No.1-ranked player.

She had said she would not speak to the media during Roland Garros and was fined $ 15,000 after skipping the post-match press conference after her first round victory on Sunday.

“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I am stepping back so that everyone can focus on the tennis that is taking place in Paris,” Osaka wrote on Monday.

She also said she has “suffered from long bouts of depression” since the 2018 US Open, which she won by beating Serena Williams in a controversial final.

In addition to Sunday’s fine on day one of Roland Garros, she drew a surprising warning from all four Grand Slam tournaments that she could face tougher penalties, including disqualification or even suspension. , if she continues to avoid the media.

Osaka returned to Roland Garros after being out of the tournament last year and clinched a 6-4, 7-6 (4) error-filled victory over 63rd Patricia Maria Tig at Court Philippe Chatrier on Day 1.

She said last week on social media that she would not speak to the media and kept that promise.

Hours later, Osaka turned to her favorite method of communication these days, tweeting, “Anger is a lack of understanding. Change makes people uncomfortable.”

Tennis players are required to attend press conferences upon request. The maximum fine, of course, isn’t a big deal for Osaka, the world’s highest paid female athlete on endorsement deals totaling tens of millions of dollars.

She presented the problem as a mental health issue, saying that having to answer questions after a loss can create self-doubt.

Other players, including 13-time Roland Garros champion Rafael Nadal and No.1-ranked Ash Barty, said they respect Osaka’s right to take a stand, but explained that they considered talking to reporters was part of the job.

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