She was one of the tournament favorites. Faced with the crisis born of her decision not to give a press conference at Roland Garros and the threats formulated by the four Grand Slam tournaments, the Japanese player Naomi Osaka, world number 2, announced her withdrawal from the tournament on Monday evening , citing anxiety and depression.
It was through a long message posted on her Twitter account that the 23-year-old Japanese explained her choice. “This is a situation I hadn’t imagined or looked for when I tweeted a few days ago, begins Osaka. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I step back (from the tournament) so that everyone can refocus on tennis. “
– NaomiOsaka 大 坂 な お み (@naomiosaka) May 31, 2021
“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 announces.
“Waves of anxiety”
“The truth is, I’ve been through long periods of depression since the 2018 US Open (his first Grand Slam coronation, Editor’s note) and that I had a lot of trouble getting over it ”, says the Japanese, who grew up and lives in the United States.
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“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 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. “
It all started last Wednesday when Osaka surprised by communicating his decision to snub press conferences at Roland Garros to preserve his sanity. But it was after her qualification for the second round on Sunday that things suddenly became tense between her and the four most powerful tournaments in world tennis.
Threat of sanctions
First, the four-time Grand Slam winner (US Open 2018 and 2020, Australian Open 2019 and 2021) was fined $ 15,000 (€ 12,300). 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”.
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“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.
Regret of the FFT
“Naomi’s withdrawal from Roland Garros is an unfortunate outcome. We wish her the best and the fastest possible recovery and hope to see Naomi again at our tournament next year ”, said Gilles Moretton, president of the French Tennis Federation, organizer of the tournament, after Osaka’s decision. “I feel sorry for Naomi”, commented for her part Serena Williams. “I would like to hug her, because I know what it is”.