Picture Supply: Getty / Tim Clayton / Corbis
Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the 2021 French Open sooner or later after being fined $15,000 for skipping a mandatory press conference following her first-round win towards Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig on Could 30 (although she nonetheless participated in an on-court interview post-match). Osaka had introduced final week that she could be forgoing press on the French Open this 12 months attributable to what she feels is a blatant disregard for athletes’ mental health. Professional gamers throughout the game voiced their opinions; 20-time Grand Slam males’s singles winner Rafael Nadal, as an example, mentioned speaking to media was part of the job, as did 18-time Grand Slam girls’s singles champion Chris Evert, who acknowledged that it helps grow the sport.
The leaders of the 4 Grand Slam tennis tournaments mentioned in a joint assertion on Could 30 they initially wrote to Osaka after she introduced her choice so as to “check on her well-being and offer support.” They then warned that if she have been to proceed opting out of French Open media obligations, she might face additional penalties together with disqualification from the event and extra potential fines or future Grand Slam suspensions.
On Could 31, the two-time Australian Open and US Open singles winner introduced her withdrawal from the French Open through social media, writing, “I believe now the very best factor for the event, the opposite gamers and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everybody can get again to specializing in the tennis happening in Paris.” She continued, “I by no means needed to be a distraction and I settle for that my timing was not splendid and message might have been clearer.”
Osaka, 23, additionally revealed in her assertion that she has been battling “lengthy bouts of melancholy” because the 2018 US Open, the place she came out victorious against Serena Williams; her victory, nonetheless, was arguably overshadowed by penalties issued towards Williams that she outwardly deemed sexist. Osaka wrote of her melancholy, “I’ve had a very laborious time dealing with that.”
Osaka 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 typically sporting headphones as that helps boring my social anxiousness. Although the tennis press has at all times been variety to me (and I wanna apologize particularly to all of the cool journalists who I’ll have harm), I’m not a pure public speaker and get large waves of hysteria earlier than I converse to the world’s media.”
Venus Williams commented on Osaka’s Instagram put up, “So pleased with you. Deal with your self and see you again profitable quickly!” Fellow tennis professional Sloane Stephens wrote, “We’re behind you babygirl, take the time you want!” and Coco Gauff wrote, “keep robust.” Cordae, Osaka’s boyfriend, commented, “No must apologize to ANYBODY !”
Osaka mentioned she plans to go on a tennis break — particularly writing, “I am gonna take a while away from the court docket now” — and although she didn’t additional elaborate, she famous, “when the time is true I actually need to work with the Tour to debate methods we are able to make issues higher for the gamers, press and followers,” citing “outdated” guidelines. Within the joint Grand Slam assertion launched on Could 30, the tennis majors additionally indicated that they’re dedicated to discussing methods “to enhance each side of the participant expertise, together with with the media.” Learn Osaka’s full announcement within the Instagram beneath.