Naomi Osaka has announced her withdrawal from the French Open after officials threatened to expel her from the tournament over her decision not to attend press events. Osaka revealed she would not be taking part in press conferences and interviews shortly ahead of the tournament, citing mental health concerns. The four Grand Slams, Australian Open, Roland-Garros, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open released a joint statement warning Osaka of potential expulsion if she did not participate in media events. However, Osaka maintained her boycott, and did not attend the post-match press conference on Sunday following her win against Patricia Tig.
In a statement posted to Twitter and Instagram on Monday, Osaka wrote, “I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.” She explained that she has suffered from “long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018.” She continued, “Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety. Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologise especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media.”