Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open amid row over press conferences

·2-min read

Naomi Osaka has pulled out of the French Open after she was fined and threatened with disqualification for refusing to take part in a press conference at the weekend.

The tennis ace was a no-show during her post-match media conference on Sunday after beating Romanian Patricia Maria Tig, citing mental health concerns, and now, she has decided to return home.

In a statement posted on social media, she wrote: "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 wellbeing is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.

"I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that."

The 23-year-old, who is the world's number two women's player, said before the tournament that she would refuse any media obligations, as they were detrimental to her mental health.

She accepted her $15,000 (£10,500) fine on Sunday and tournament bosses released a statement that read: "We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations, she would be exposing herself to possible further code of conduct infringement consequences.

"As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament and the trigger of a major offense investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions."

Meanwhile, French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton described Osaka's attitude toward the media as "a phenomenal error".

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