PARIS — Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open and announced that she will be stepping back from tennis.
The world No 2 — who won her opening match of this year’s tournament at Roland Garros against Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday — stated that she had suffered “long bouts of depression” since winning the US Open in 2018, and that she needed a break from the controversy that has enveloped her in the past week.
The US and Australian Open champion stated last Wednesday night that she would refuse to attend Press conferences this fortnight, on the grounds that they are injurious to her mental health.
Following a strong response from the four grand slams, and little in the way of solidarity from fellow players, she is now withdrawing from the second round.
In a statement on her social media she said: “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, and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety.”