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Sport Naomi Osaka WITHDRAWS from French Open in wake of media boycott

22:26  31 may  2021
22:26  31 may  2021 Source:   dailymail.co.uk

Naomi Osaka reveals she will boycott media duties at French Open

  Naomi Osaka reveals she will boycott media duties at French Open The world No 2, who is a four-time major champion, posted a lengthy statement on Twitter explaining the pressures athletes come under when faced with questions from the press. As a result the 23-year-old, who has never gone further than the third round at Roland Garros, insists she will boycott press at the tournament, insisting the 'whole situation kicks a person while they are down' and she 'does not understand the reasoning behind it'.

Naomi Osaka, Naomi Osaka are posing for a picture: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Naomi Osaka has announced that she has pulled out from the French Open due to the uproar caused by her media duties boycott.

The 23-year-old world No 2 won her opening match against Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday but her decision not to take part in press conferences or interviews has overshadowed the start of the tournament at Roland Garros.

All four grand slams reacted strongly to Osaka's move just hours after her victory, releasing a joint statement on Sunday threatening to potentially disqualify her and impose a ban from future tournaments should she not reconsider her boycott.

French Open should just kick Naomi Osaka OUT over media boycott

  French Open should just kick Naomi Osaka OUT over media boycott Naomi Osaka was fined $15,000 by Grand Slam organizers for boycotting a news conference following her first-round win in Paris. Fox Sports Radio host Rob Parker suggested she should have stayed home.The star was blasted by sports reporters including Fox Sports Radio host Rob Parker who said the French Open should have told Osaka not to show up for the tournament if she could not face answering questions.

But Osaka, who cited mental health reasons for her boycott, announced her withdrawal by writing on Twitter: '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 well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.

Osaka revealed she had suffered periods of depression since winning her first grand slam title at the US Open three years ago, and that talking to the media triggered anxiety.

How US Open 'scar tissue' weighed on Osaka

  How US Open 'scar tissue' weighed on Osaka The 2018 US Open saw Naomi Osaka suddenly thrust into the spotlight that she was ill-prepared to cope with.Osaka this morning made the bombshell announcement that she was withdrawing from Roland-Garros, revealing her ongoing struggles with depression.

'I never wanted to be be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer,' she continued on Twitter. '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, and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I'm often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety.

Why there's nowhere for Naomi Osaka to run

  Why there's nowhere for Naomi Osaka to run There's nowhere to run and no place to hide for Naomi Osaka, traveling the world and playing on the biggest stages in tennis. © Getty Naomi Osaka was fined after boycotting her post-match media conference at Roland-Garros. Some of the questions may be repetitive. Some may even be a bit negative, though for the most part those in the tennis media tend to treat top players with kid gloves. Regardless, it's part of her job to answer them.

'Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologise especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world's media.'

Osaka's sister Mari attempted to explain more about her sibling's stance with a post on the website Reddit, highlighting her feelings of vulnerability on clay, but then deleted her words and replaced them with an apology, saying she felt she had made things worse.

Naomi Osaka holding a racket: Osaka said she had suffered bouts of depression since winning her first slam title at the US Open in 2018 © Provided by Daily Mail Osaka said she had suffered bouts of depression since winning her first slam title at the US Open in 2018

Osaka's Twitter post continued: 'So 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 pre-emptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.

'I wrote privately to the tournament apologising and saying that I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament as the slams are intense.

'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.'

Read more

Video: 'Natural' Swiatek says good relationship with media can help players (Reuters)

Sponsorship masterstroke behind Osaka withdrawal .
A few years ago, a star athlete dropping out of a tournament over mental health might have been seen as a sign of weakness. Today, at least for Naomi Osaka's corporate sponsors, it is being hailed as refreshingly honest.That would explain why so many of them have stuck by Osaka after the four-time Grand Slam champion announced Monday that she was withdrawing from the French Open because she didn’t want to appear for the requisite news conferences that caused her “huge waves of anxiety.

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