Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open after tournament organizers fined her $15,000 and threatened to oust the tennis champ for refusing to speak to the press. The 23 year-old athlete, who currently ranks number two in the world, announced last week that she would not sit for press conferences to protect her mental health.
Osaka announced that she quit via a post on her social media.
“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. I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer,” Osaka wrote. “More importantly I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. 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.”
On Sunday, Grand Slam organizers attempted to explain their positioning in a statement. “A core element of the Grand Slam regulations is the responsibility of the players to engage with the media, whatever the result of their match, a responsibility which players take for the benefit of the sport, the fans and for themselves,” the statement said. “We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations during the tournament, she would be exposing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement consequences.”