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Naomi Osaka Withdrew From The French Open Due To Mental Health Issues.
Tennis

Naomi Osaka Withdrew From The French Open Due To Mental Health Issues.


Naomi Osaka, the world's number one tennis player, announced her withdrawal from the French Open on Monday, just days after announcing her intention to boycott the press at the tournament to protect her mental health.

In a statement posted on Instagram, the 23-year-old Japanese pro tennis player stated that withdrawing from the high-profile event was "the best thing for the tournament, the other players, and my well-being."

“I never wanted to be a distraction, and I accept that my timing was not ideal and that my message could have been clearer,” Osaka wrote, adding, “More importantly, I would never trivialize or dismiss mental health.”

Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, went on to say she's had "long bouts of depression" since the 2018 U.S. Open and has had "a really hard time coping with that."

“Anyone who knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone who has seen me at tournaments will notice that I frequently wear headphones as it helps with my social anxiety,” Osaka wrote.

“So here in Paris, I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious, so I decided to take care of myself and skip the press conferences,” she explained.

https://twitter.com/LN2ANnoAYD — NaomiOsaka (@naomiosaka) May 31, 2021

The heads of the four Grand Slam tournaments announced in a joint statement on Sunday that Osaka would be fined $15,000 for "choosing not to honor her contractual media obligations."

The officials stated in their statement that they have "significant resources dedicated to player wellbeing," but that players must engage with them on these issues.

According to the statement, “a core component of the Grand Slam regulations is the responsibility of the players to engage with the media, regardless of the outcome of their match, a responsibility which players accept for the benefit of the sport, the fans, and themselves.”

Officials have warned Osaka that if she continues to refuse to speak with the media, she could be barred from future tournaments for violating the code of conduct.

Osaka said in an Instagram post Sunday that she privately apologized to French Open officials when she made her initial announcement about not speaking to the press, and that she told them she would be “more than happy” to speak with reporters after the tournament.

“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 we can make things better for the players, press, and fans,” Osaka wrote.

Venus Williams paid a $5,000 fine in 2016 to avoid discussing her early exit from the Australian Open, and she and her tennis star sister, Serena, were fined $4,000 each in 2010 for failing to speak to reporters following a doubles match at Wimbledon.

Other players have paid to avoid press events, including Andre Agassi, Mats Wilander, Goran Ivanisevic, Victoria Azarenka, and Yevgeny Kafelnikov.

If you or someone you know needs assistance, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. If you live outside of the United States, please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a resource database.

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