Naomi Osaka Withdraws from French Open over Media Boycott

Tennis star Naomi Osaka announced via Twitter Monday that she would be withdrawing from the French Open. Osaka said she “never wanted to be a distraction” following days of controversy for not participating in the mandatory media interviews at Roland-Garros.

The world’s number two player tennis player said: “This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago.”

Osaka added, “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,” she had expressed. “More importantly I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.”

The tennis star has been dealing with depression and social anxiety. She explained further in her statement:

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. Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I am often wearing headphones as a health store my social anxiety.

— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 31, 2021

She continued to say, in Paris, she was already feeling vulnerable and anxious, so she believes “it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences,” for which she was fined $15 thousand.

Osaka continued to add that she had announced not to participate in the press conferences because she “believes the rules are quite outdated in parts,” and she hoped “to highlight that.” She also noted, Osaka has “wrote privately to the tournament apologizing and saying that [she] would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament as the Slams are intense.”

Sunday, it was announced, Osaka would be fined $15 thousand for not participating in the mandatory media interviews at Roland-Garros 2021.

In a group statement released by the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon, and the US Open, they said that Osaka chose not to “honour her contractual media obligations. The Roland-Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine, in keeping with article III H. of the Code of Conduct.”

Jacob Bliss