Why did Naomi Osaka withdraw from Roland-Garros? Tennis star explains sudden decision to walk away
Naomi Osaka’s 2021 French Open is over.
The 23-year-old tennis star and four-time Grand Slam champion has confirmed she will withdraw from the Roland Garros tournament ahead of her second round match against Ana Bogdan.
In a Twitter post, Osaka detailed her decision to make such a decision after refusing to speak to the media and revealed that she had “suffered from long bouts of depression” since the 2018 US Open.
Some parts of the Osaka declaration stand out above all. The first is when she explained her own mental health issues and why talking to the media causes “huge waves of anxiety.”
The truth is, I have suffered from long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and have had a hard time coping with them. Anyone who knows me knows I’m an introvert, and anyone who’s seen me at tournaments will notice that I wear headphones a lot because it alleviates my social anxiety. While the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I want to apologize especially to all the cool journalists I’ve hurt), I’m not a natural public speaker and I get huge waves. of anxiety before speaking to the media around the world. I am very nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best possible answers.
Osaka also explained exactly why she was behind what effectively amounted to her media blackout. She was trying to “take care of herself” and shed light on rules that she considers “quite outdated in places”.
So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious, so I thought it was better to be careful and skip the press conferences. I announced it preemptively because I have the impression that the rules are sometimes quite outdated and I wanted to underline it. I wrote privately to the tournament to apologize and say I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament as the Slams are intense. I’m going to take some time off the court now, but when the time comes I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways to improve things for the players, the press and the fans.
Of course, Osaka and the Tour had disagreed over its media blackout. The four Grand Slam tournaments issued a joint statement and fined him $ 15,000 for skipping media obligations after the Roland Garros first round and threatened to default if she continued to do so.
Osaka lamented that his “message could have been clearer” in his statement, so it would appear that both sides have a lot to say moving forward if Osaka wants some of the “outdated” media rules to change.
But, for now, the world No.2 will not be participating in the biggest clay court event of the year. Before retiring, Osaka beat Patricia Maria Tig in straight sets, (6-4, 7-6).