Even though Naomi Osaka decided to skip press conferences at the 2021 French Open in order to focus on her tennis, the result of her decision backfired. The four-time Grand Slam champion has been all over the news these days, as the media, tennis fans and players are commenting on whether or not she’s doing the right thing. One day after winning her first-round match in Paris and getting warnings that she could be defaulted from the tournament, the 23-year-old is announcing a shocking decision to withdraw.
In a long message on social media, Osaka explained:
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.
The world No.2 further explained that she has suffered long bouts of depression since the 2018 US Open. Moreover, since she’s introverted, public speaking causes her a lot of stress. Wearing headphones at tournaments often helps dull her social anxiety. What she thought was a decision in the best interest of her Roland Garros campaign has developed into loads of media attention for all the wrong reasons:
Here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious, so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences. I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.
Osaka is not giving up on changing the rules that have been around for decades:
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.