Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open on Monday and announced on Twitter that she would be taking a break from competition, a dramatic turn of events for a four-time Grand Slam champion who previously stated that she suffers from “huge waves of anxiety“ and has “suffered long bouts of depression” before speaking to the media.
Osaka’s agent, Stuart Duguid, confirmed to The Associated Press in an email that the world’s No. 2 tennis player was withdrawing from the clay-court tournament in Paris before her second-round match.
The startling move came just one day after Osaka, a 23-year-old Japanese woman who emigrated to the United States with her family when she was three years old, was fined $15,000 for missing the post-match press conference following her first-round victory at the French Open.
All four Grand Slam tournaments warned her with additional sanctions, including disqualification or suspension, if she continued with her plan to “do no press during Roland Garros,” which Osaka revealed last week on Twitter.
She portrayed the situation as a mental health issue, claiming that having to answer inquiries after a loss might cause self-doubt. The four major tournaments, as well as the professional tennis circuits, “are very devoted to all athletes’ well-being and to continue improving every area of players’ experience in our tournament” according to Moretton.
In Monday’s essay, Osaka discussed her struggles with melancholy after winning the 2018 U.S. Open by defeating Serena Williams in a contentious final. “I would never downplay mental health or use the phrase lightly,” Osaka stated, admitting that talking to the press made her nervous.