Monday, May 31, 2021. 2:03 p.m.
World No.2 Naomi Osaka, engaged in a standoff with the organizers of Roland Garros over her refusal to participate in press conferences, announced that she was withdrawing from the tournament and was taking a step back from tennis for a while. time, Monday on social networks.
“Hi everyone, this is a situation I had neither imagined nor expected when I tweeted the other day. I think the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw (from the tournament) so that everyone can refocus on tennis, ”the Japanese tweeted.
“I will be retiring from the courts for a while, but when the time comes I really want to work with the Circuit to discuss ways to improve things for the players, the press and the fans,” she also announced.
“I never wanted to create a disturbance and I understand that the timing was not good and that my message should have been clearer,” she says.
“The truth is that I went through long periods of depression since the US Open 2018 (which she had won, editor’s note) and I had a lot of trouble recovering,” she continues.
“Even though the press that covers tennis has always been kind to me (and I apologize to any nice journalists I have offended), I am not comfortable speaking in public and I feel like I am ‘Huge waves of anxiety when I have to address the world press,’ says the 23-year-old.
“So in Paris, I already felt vulnerable and anxious and that’s why I thought it was better to save myself and miss the press conferences. I announced it in advance because I believe that the rules in force are outdated and I wanted to highlight it, ”she adds.
“I wrote privately to the tournament organizers to apologize and let them know I was ready to talk to them after the tournament because the Grand Slams are intense,” she wrote.
Naomi Osaka announced last Wednesday on Twitter that she would not participate in press conferences at Roland Garros to preserve her sanity.
Sunday after her victory in the first round, she did not appear in front of the press and was fined $ 15,000. But the organizers of the four Grand Slam tournaments (Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open) had threatened in a joint statement to exclude her from the Parisian Major or even the three others if she persisted.
First, the four-time Grand Slam winner (US Open 2018 and 2020, Australian Open 2019 and 2021) was fined $ 15,000 (around 12,300 euros).
Above all, the four Majors warned in a joint statement that “in the event that it continued to fail in its media obligations during the tournament, it would expose itself to new sanctions”.
“Repeated infractions could result in more severe penalties, including exclusion from the tournament, as well as the initiation of a serious misconduct investigation, which could lead to heavier fines and suspensions for future Grand Slams.” , they threatened.
Faced with this sudden rise in tension, Osaka had only tweeted two short sentences Sunday evening: “Anger is a lack of understanding. Change makes people uncomfortable.” She finally preferred to slip away twenty-four hours later, not without explaining herself.
“The truth is that I went through long periods of depression since the US Open 2018 (her first Grand Slam coronation, note) and that I had a lot of trouble recovering”, says the Japanese, who grew up and lives in the United States.
“Anyone who knows me knows I’m an introvert, and anyone who’s seen me at tournaments will have noticed that I often wear headphones because it helps me alleviate my social anxiety,” she continues. I am not naturally comfortable speaking in public, and I feel immense waves of anxiety when I have to address the global press. “