Tennis star Naomi Osaka announce on Monday that she is withdrawing from the French Open after refusing to speak to the media at the grand slam.
The four-time major winner posted a statement on Twitter saying she was pulling out so that “everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” adding that she would “take some time away from the court.”
Osaka revealed she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018.
Last Wednesday, citing mental health reasons, Osaka posted on social media she would not participate in any news conferences during the French Open, hoping that any fines she incurred would go toward a mental health charity.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 31, 2021
Following her straight set victory on Sunday, Osaka was fined $15,000 for not talking to the media, Roland Garros announced in a statement.
Following her decision to opt out of media duties last week, the French Open was criticized for posting a tweet — which it has since deleted — with photos of Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff engaging in media duties with the caption: “They understood the assignment.”
Four-time grand slam doubles winner Rennae Stubbs tweeted: “This is some serious shade from Roland Garros & the FFT (French Tennis Federation).
Roland Garros said it asked Osaka “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.”
“Following the lack of engagement by Naomi Osaka, the Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes’ well-being and suggest dialog on the issue,” the statement read.
“She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.”
Organizers said that repeated violations could lead to tougher sanctions including default from the tournament.