Naomi Osaka Withdraws From French Open


Naomi Osaka. Photo Courtesy of Vanity Fair.

Mira Ivanis , Writer/Copy Editor

23-year old tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open to preserve her mental-health. Since then, Osaka has been harshly criticized by the press and labeled as enacting with “diva behavior.” 

According to The Grio, Osaka was fined $15K for not attending post-match news conferences after the French Open. The statement argued that Osaka had been told that “should she continue to ignore her media obligations during the tournament, she would be exposing herself to further Code of Conduct infringement consequences.”

The four-time Grand Slam champion then released a statement informing others of her decision to withdraw from the tournament: 

“Hey everyone, this isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. 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.”


Naomi Osaka: French Open withdrawal statement in full | Tennis News | Al Jazeera

Osaka revealed that she had been suffering from long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018. 

“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,” she added. 

“Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologize, 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. I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can.”

Osaka apologized to the tournament privately, writing she would be “more than happy to speak with them after the tournament.”

Just a few days after her decision to withdraw from the French Open, Osaka pulled out from the Berlin WTA 5000 grass-court tournament taking place next Monday. 

On Saturday, Osaka released a statement thanking her fans for their love and support over her decision to withdraw from the French Open. Multiple celebrities supported Osaka’s decision including actor Will Smith, NBA All-star Stephen Curry, and even 7 time Grand Slam Champ Venus Williams.