Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open, citing a “bout of depression” as the reason.
“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,” she tweeted. “I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer.”
Osaka, 23, was fined $15,000 on Sunday after she refused to take part in a mandatory news conference following her first-round victory. She was also threatened with disqualification if she failed to show up for future press conferences again.
“The truth is I have suffered bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that,” Osaka said in her statement released Monday. “…In Paris, I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences.
“I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite out-dated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.”
The official French Open Twitter account threw some shade in Osaka’s direction after her stunt Sunday.
Osaka is the world’s highest-earning female athlete, compiling a whopping $37.4 million in 2020. But OutKick’s Greg Couch recently wrote that she’s needs to drop the diva routine.
“Osaka didn’t say that she’s having a mental health issue. What she said was that the media are perpetuating mental health issues in athletes. She took it on as a cause,” Couch wrote in a separate column. “This is bigger than a typical blame-the-media issue.”
Osaka is ranked second in the world in women’s singles, behind only Australia’s Ashleigh Barty.