Naomi Osaka says stop. In the face of the crisis resulting from her decision not to hold a press conference at Roland Garros and the threats made by the four Grand Slam tournaments, the world number two announced her withdrawal from the tournament on Monday evening.
Through a long message posted on her Twitter account, the 23-year-old explained her choice.
Osaka begins: “It’s a situation I hadn’t imagined or looked for when I tweeted a few days ago.” Now I think the best thing about the tournament and the other players and my well-being is to take a step back (from the tournament) so that everyone can refocus on tennis. “
“I will be retiring from the stadiums for a while, but when the time comes, I really want to work with the ring to discuss ways to improve things for the players, the press and the fans,” she declared. Without further explanation. .
“I never wanted to cause disruption and admit that the timing was not perfect and that my message could have been more clear,” she apologizes.
It all began last Wednesday when Osaka was surprised to reach out, already on social networks, with his decision to disdain press conferences at Roland Garros to preserve his mental health.
But after she qualified for the second round on Sunday, things suddenly soured between her and the four strongest tournaments in world tennis.
First, the four-time Grand Slam winner (US Open 2018 and 2020, Australian Open 2019 and 2021) was fined $ 15,000 (approximately € 12,300).
Above all, the Big Four warned in a joint statement that “in the event that it continues to default in its media obligations during the tournament, it will expose itself to new sanctions.”
And they threatened, “repeated violations could lead to more severe penalties, including disqualification from the tournament, as well as the initiation of a serious misconduct investigation, which could lead to greater fines and suspensions from the Grand Slam tournaments in the future.”
Faced with this sudden rise in tension, Osaka only tweeted two short sentences Sunday evening: “Anger is a lack of understanding. Change makes people uncomfortable.” She finally preferred to run away after twenty-four hours, without explaining herself.
“The truth is that I’ve gone through long periods of depression since the US Open 2018 (her first Grand Slam coronation, note) and I’ve had a lot of trouble recovering,” says the Japanese, who grew up and lives in the United States.
“Anyone who knows me knows I am an introvert, and anyone who has seen me in tournaments will notice that I often wear headphones because they help me relieve my social anxiety,” she continues. I am naturally not comfortable speaking in public and feel massive waves of anxiety when I have to address the global press. ”
Osaka’s decision was met with sadness by the French Tennis Federation (FFT), the tournament’s organizer.
“Naomi’s withdrawal from Roland Garros is an unfortunate result. We wish her the best and fastest possible recovery and hope to see Naomi again in our championship next year,” said FIFA President Gilles Moreton.