Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open over media boycott ‘distraction’
Naomi Osaka announced Monday that she is withdrawing from the French Open after her decision to boycott the media became a “distraction.”
In a statement released to Twitter, Osaka said her decision to withdraw is to allow people to focus on the tennis at Roland Garros. She added that her “timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer” in her refusal to speak to the media, and apologized to the “cool journalists” she had disappointed.
Osaka also explained that she has suffered “long bouts of depression” since the 2018 US Open, adding that speaking to the media gives her “huge waves of anxiety.” Her announcement of a boycott was partly meant to highlight what she called “outdated” media rules, and that she wanted to eventually work with the WTA to work on changes. She concluded by saying she plans to take some time away from the court for the time being.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 31, 2021
Osaka had been threatened with disqualification for refusing to attend mandatory media events, which only seemed to cause her to dig in further on her stance. The American had played and won her first round match against Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday, and would have faced Romanian Ana Bogdan on Wednesday had she remained in the field.