Naomi Osaka, 23, is withdrawing from French Open after a series of controversies from the past week. She admits to fighting mental health issues and dealing with social anxiety on every match since 2018.
Naomi, who ranks No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association, took to Twitter to share her thoughts with the public.
“I never wanted to be a distraction,” Naomi explained.
After winning the US and Australian Open matches, Naomi Osaka is supposed to appear tomorrow against Ana Bogdan. In her public announcement, Naomi explained that she had been feeling “vulnerable and anxious” and wanted to “skip the press conferences.”
“I wrote privately to the tournament apologizing and saying that I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament as the Slams are intense.”
It all started when she explained beforehand that she wants to avoid the press before Roland Garros.
In response to this, the Four Grand Slams appeared to have attempted to contact the tennis player to further clarify the issue, per the statement they published. However, “the lack of engagement by Naomi Osaka” led them to believe that they needed to remind her of “the consequences of not meeting them.”
The No. 2 seed had been fined $15,000 fine after breaking the contractual media obligations.
“We individually and collectively have significant resources dedicated to player well-being,” they wrote. “In order to continue to improve, however, we need engagement from the players to understand their perspective and find ways to improve their experiences.”
“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 also warned her against continuously breaking the Code of Conduct article III T. which will lead to a major offence investigation that cost substantial fines as well as suspensions.
Naomi’s sister, Mari Osaka, came to Reddit to explain why she supports her act to boycott the media.
In the deleted Reddit post, Mari explained that Naomi doesn’t have the energy to “dwell and explain something that she doesn’t want to even think about.” Her sister is focusing on the matches and the tournament.
She recalls how Naomi remembers when a family member said she was bad at clay, and the media parroted back the statement. Yet, Naomi actually told Mari that her confidence “was completely shattered” after losing in Rome R1. She wanted to believe she can have a shot at Roland Garros and hence, had chosen to “block everything out.”
“I don’t know what she is going to do in the future when the tournament pushes back and threatens to default her, but I fully support my sister’s actions because she’s just trying to do what’s best for her. Tennis players don’t get paid to do press conferences. They only get paid when they win matches,” Mari added.