Osaka Withdraws From French Open After Media Ban | Sports Pundit

World number two and reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka has sensationally withdrawn from the 2021 French Open following her decision to skip press conferences.

The 23-year-old Japanese announced prior to the tournament that she would not speak to the media at the compulsory post-match press conferences, creating debate.

She eased to victory on Sunday in her first round match against Patricia Maria Tig, before following through and not doing any media.

Osaka was fined $US15,000 for her non-attendance and confirmed on Monday she would pull out, declaring it was “the best thing for the tournament”.

“This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago,” Osaka wrote on Twitter.

“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.

“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 trivialise 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. Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted… I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media.”

Osaka, who is a four-time major winner, is the world’s best paid women’s athlete.

Organisers of the tournament, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) said her withdrawal was “unfortunate”.

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