Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open following threat to expel her from tournament

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Naomi Osaka French Open
Source: Sky Sports

Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open. She was fined $15,000 after she did not appear for her press conference after her first-round victory. The four Grand Slam organizers released a statement threatening Naomi Osaka with a potential expulsion from the French Open in case she continues to skip press conferences. Osaka is Number two in the world and revealed that she has been suffering from depression for the past two years. She also said that her anxiety was triggered every time she spoke to the media.

“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.” Osaka posted on Twitter. “I never wanted to be a distraction. 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.”

“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 that I’m introverted, and anyone that’s seen me at tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety,” she added. “Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologize especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media. I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can.”

Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Phil Mickelson, and many more celebrities have taken to Twitter to show their support for Naomi Osaka.

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