Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open

Naomi Osaka has decided to withdraw from the French Open following criticism over her decision to boycott post-match press conferences

Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open

World No 2 Naomi Osaka announced on Monday that she is withdrawing from the French Open and said she will take a break from tennis for a while.

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The four-time Grand Slam champion has attracted a lot of criticism for refusing to speak to the media in the mandatory post-match press conferences.

Osaka was fined $15,000 on Sunday, after her first-round win, and told that she could face a default if she continued with the media boycott.

“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,” Osaka stated on Monday.

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

“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.

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“Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has seen me at tournaments will notice I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety.

“Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologize 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.”

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Osaka has always been popular with the media and her rating skyrocketed after the 2020 US Open, which she won while taking a stand on tough social issues.

The Japanese won back-to-back Slam on hard courts as she clinched the 2021 Australian Open title but informed on Monday that it may be a while before she returns to the tennis court.

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

Though Osaka is a clear leader on hard-courts, she has struggled on European clay and grass.

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The 23-year-old had beaten Tig 6-4, 7-6 on Sunday and was slated to play Ana Bogdan in the second round.