In an unexpected turn of events, world number 2 Naomi Osaka has retired from the 2021 French Open. Osaka, who was due to play her second-round match against Ana Bogdan on Wednesday, announced on Monday that she has been suffering from depression since the 2018 US Open.
Naomi Osaka announced last week that she would be skipping all of her media engagements at Roland Garros this year to protect her mental health. But not much was known about their problems at the time, and so many attacked the Japanese for failing to meet their contractual media obligations.
But Naomi Osaka announced her withdrawal from the clay court major on Twitter on Monday, claiming that she does not want to become a “distraction”. She also admitted that the timing of her previous testimony was not “ideal” but claimed that she never intended to trivialize the mental health issue.
“Hey everyone, this is not a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago,” Naomi Osaka wrote on Twitter. “I think the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being now is that I step back so everyone can focus on tennis in Paris again.”
“I never wanted to be a distraction and accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer,” she added. “Most of all, I would never belittle mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is, I’ve had long-term depression since the 2018 US Open and it was really difficult to deal with.”
The world number 2 went on to write that she suffers from social anxiety which is why she is often seen wearing headphones and avoiding human interactions. Naomi Osaka also apologized to some of the journalists she likes, explaining how fear had played a big part in her decision to boycott press conferences.
“Everyone who knows me knows that I am an introvert, and anyone who has seen me at tournaments will notice that I wear headphones a lot as it eases my social anxieties,” Osaka wrote. “Although the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I especially want to apologize to all the cool journalists I may have hurt).”
“I’m not a natural speaker and I get great waves of fear before speaking to the world’s media,” she added. “I get really nervous and stressful, always trying to get involved and give you the best possible answers. Here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and fearful so I thought it would be better to take care of myself and those Skip press conferences. ” . “
“I’m going to take some time from the court now” – Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka went on to announce that she plans to take some time off tennis but did not provide an exact date for her return. Osaka also stressed that she would like to work with the tour to find a way to ensure the psychological well-being of everyone involved.
“I’m going to take some time off the pitch now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the tour to discuss how we can make things better for the players, the press and the fans,” she concluded.
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