4-time Slam champion Naomi Osaka pulls out of French Open, cites nervousness


Naomi Osaka of Japan on the Indian Wells Tennis Backyard in California.

Sean M. Haffey | Getty Photos

Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open on Monday and wrote on Twitter that she could be taking a break from competitors, a dramatic flip of occasions for a four-time Grand Slam champion who stated she has “suffered lengthy bouts of despair.”

Osaka’s agent, Stuart Duguid, confirmed in an e mail to The Related Press that the world’s No. 2-ranked tennis participant was pulling out earlier than her second-round match on the clay-court match in Paris.

The beautiful transfer got here a day after Osaka, a 23-year-old born in Japan and now primarily based within the U.S., was fined $15,000 for skipping the postmatch information convention after her first-round victory on the French Open. She additionally was threatened by all 4 Grand Slam tournaments with potential further punishment, together with disqualification or suspension, if she continued along with her intention — which Osaka revealed final week on Twitter — to not “do any press throughout Roland Garros.”

She framed the matter as a psychological well being concern, saying that it may create self-doubt to should reply questions after a loss.

“At the start we’re sorry and unhappy for Naomi Osaka. The result of Naomi withdrawing from Roland Garros is unlucky,” French tennis federation president Gilles Moretton stated Monday. “We want her the most effective and the quickest potential restoration. And we stay up for having Naomi in our match subsequent 12 months.”

Moretton stated the 4 main tournaments, and the skilled tennis excursions, “stay very dedicated to all athletes’ well-being and to repeatedly bettering each facet of gamers’ expertise in our match, together with with the media, like we at all times have.”

In Monday’s submit, Osaka spoke about coping with despair because the 2018 U.S. Open, which she gained by beating Serena Williams in a ultimate stuffed with controversy.

“I might by no means trivialize psychological well being or use the time period flippantly,” Osaka wrote.

She additionally stated talking with the media makes her anxious.

“I believe now the most effective factor for the match, the opposite gamers and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everybody can get again to specializing in the tennis occurring in Paris,” Osaka wrote. “I by no means needed to be a distraction and I settle for that my timing was not perfect and my message might have been clearer.”

She continued: “Anybody that is aware of me is aware of I am introverted, and anybody that has seen me on the tournaments will discover that I am usually carrying headphones as that helps uninteresting my social nervousness. … I’m not a pure public speaker and get big waves of hysteria earlier than I converse to the world’s media.”

Osaka has by no means been previous the third spherical on the French Open’s crimson clay. It takes seven victories to win a Grand Slam title, which she has accomplished 4 occasions at hard-court tournaments: the U.S. Open in 2018 and 2020; the Australian Open in 2019 and this February.

“Right here in Paris I used to be already feeling susceptible and anxious so I assumed it was higher to train self-care and skip the press conferences,” she wrote.

Tennis gamers are required to attend information conferences if requested to take action. The utmost effective of $20,000 just isn’t an enormous deal to Osaka, the world’s highest-earning feminine athlete due to endorsement contracts totaling tens of thousands and thousands of {dollars}.

Different gamers, notably 13-time French Open champion Rafael Nadal and No. 1-ranked Ash Barty, have stated they respect Osaka’s proper to take a stance however defined that they contemplate talking to reporters a part of the job.

After Osaka’s submit on Monday, a number of athletes in tennis and different sports activities tweeted their help.

Martina Navratilova, an 18-time Grand Slam champion, wrote: “I’m so unhappy about Naomi Osaka. I actually hope she shall be okay. As athletes we’re taught to deal with our physique, and maybe the psychological & emotional facet will get brief shrift. That is about greater than doing or not doing a press convention. Good luck Naomi- we’re all pulling for you!”

Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry wrote that it was “spectacular taking the excessive street when the powers that be do not defend their very own. main respect.”