After being fined for not participating in post-match interviews during the Grand Slam tournament last week, Naomi Osaka announced that she would withdraw from the 2021 French Open.
In a message on Instagram, Osaka, 23, said: “Hey everyone, this isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. 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. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.” Osaka also said that she was thought the decision to skip press conferences was best for her “self-care” after feeling both vulnerable and anxious while in Paris for the French Open.
Ahead of the tennis tournament’s start, Osaka announced she wouldn’t be doing press during the championship in an effort to preserve her mental health. On Sunday, Osaka won her match, but was fined $15,000 for not participating in media requirements. The board of Grand Slam tennis tournaments had released a statement on Sunday, warning that she could face possible expulsion in the future. The joint statement from the French Open as well as the U.S. Open, Wimbledon, and Australian Open said that “following this announcement, the Roland-Garros teams asked her to reconsider her position and tried unsuccessfully to speak with her to check on her well-being, understand the specifics of her issue, and what might be done to address it on site. She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them, and that rules should equally apply to all players.”
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