Naomi Osaka said Monday she was withdrawing from the French Open following the bitter fall-out from her decision to boycott all media activity at the Grand Slam event, revealing she has “suffered long bouts of depression” and will now “take some time away from the court”.
“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,” the world number two wrote on Twitter.
She claimed on the eve of Roland Garros that such post-match inquests were akin to “kicking people when they are down” and that they had a detrimental effect on her mental health.
“The truth is I have suffered bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”
“I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite out-dated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.”
French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton has described her vow of silence as “a phenomenal error”.
“She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players.”
Osaka is the world’s highest earning female athlete, making $37.4 million in 2020.
Earlier Monday, Osaka’s coach said she wanted to use her superstar status to force change with her media boycott.
“In the United States, the subject is very topical at the moment, as athletes want more freedom in dealing with the press.
Mari Osaka, a former player herself, said her sister was struggling to cope in the run-up to Paris.
“At every press conference she’s told she has a bad record on clay.