Naomi Osaka withdraws out of the French Open after having a dispute over media appearances. She refused to attend news events with reporters.
The athlete wrote in an Instagram post, “Hey everyone, this isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended.”
“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,” she further added.
This happened after an unexpected clash with tennis officials.
Naomi is the greatest tennis player of her generation and is paid the highest in terms of endorsements. Moreover, she is a four-time Grand Slam champion.
When she refused to attend mandatory news conferences in Paris, the French Tennis Federation fined her $15,000.
Naomi wrote in her Instagram post on Monday – “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.”
Even when she won her first-round match against Patricia Maria Tig, Naomi participated in a brief on-court interview. But refused to do a post-match news conference.
According to her, she experiences, “huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media.”
Tennis officials enclosed the standoff in terms of impartiality to the other athletes.
Various top tennis officials from France, Australia, England and the U.S said in a joint statement on Sunday – “We want to underline that rules are in place to ensure all players are treated exactly the same, no matter their stature, beliefs or achievement.”
“As a sport, there is nothing more important than ensuring no player has an unfair advantage over another, which unfortunately is the case in this situation if one player refuses to dedicate time to participate in media commitments while the others all honor their commitments.”
As per the statement given by the officials, they reached out to Naomi but she didn’t told them about her experiences. “The mental health of players competing in our tournaments and on the Tours is of the utmost importance to the Grand Slams.”
Officials also argued that media events were good for the sport and the public and that the rules required participation.
At last, the player wrote on Instagram–
“I do feel like the rules are quite outdated. I’m gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans.”