Posted on: June 1, 2021 Posted by: Anna Lee Comments: 0

(AP) — Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open on Monday and wrote on Twitter that she can be taking a break from competitors, a dramatic flip of occasions for a four-time Grand Slam champion who mentioned she experiences “enormous waves of tension” earlier than chatting with the media and revealed she has “suffered lengthy bouts of melancholy.”

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 event in Paris.

The beautiful transfer got here a day after Osaka, a 23-year-old who was born in Japan and moved together with her household to the U.S. at age 3, 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 together 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 difficulty, saying that it will probably create self-doubt to must 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 mentioned Monday. “We want her one of the best and the quickest potential restoration. And we sit up for having Naomi in our event subsequent yr.”

Moretton mentioned 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 event, together with with the media, like we all the time have.”

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

“I might by no means trivialize psychological well being or use the time period frivolously,” Osaka wrote, explaining that talking with the media makes her anxious.

“I believe now one of the 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 occurring in Paris,” Osaka wrote. “I by no means needed to be a distraction and I settle for that my timing was not very best and my message may have been clearer.”

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

Williams was requested about Osaka on Monday after successful her opening match within the first scheduled night time session in French Open historical past.

“I really feel for Naomi. I really feel like I want I may give her a hug as a result of I do know what it’s like. … I’ve been in these positions,” Williams mentioned. “We’ve totally different personalities, and persons are totally different. Not everybody is identical. I’m thick; different persons are skinny. Everyone seems to be totally different and everybody handles issues otherwise. You simply must let her deal with it the best way she desires to, in one of the simplest ways she thinks she will be able to, and that’s the one factor I can say. I believe she’s doing one of the best that she will be able to.”

Osaka has by no means been previous the third spherical on the French Open’s purple clay. It takes seven victories to win a Grand Slam title, which she has finished 4 instances 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 believed 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 advantageous 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 hundreds of thousands of {dollars}.

“Psychological well being and consciousness round it is among the highest priorities to the WTA,” the ladies’s tennis tour mentioned in an announcement emailed by a spokeswoman. “We’ve invested vital assets, staffing and academic instruments on this space for the previous 20-plus years and proceed to develop our psychological well being help system for the betterment of the athletes and the group. We stay right here to help and help Naomi in any means potential and we hope to see her again on the court docket quickly.”

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

After Osaka’s submit 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 really hope she might be okay. As athletes we’re taught to deal with our physique, and maybe the psychological & emotional facet will get quick 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 highway when the powers that be dont defend their very own. main respect.”


AP Sports activities Writers Sam Petrequin in Paris and Steven Wine in Miami contributed to this report.

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