World number two Naomi Osaka withdraws from the French Open after the
controversy over her refusal to speak to the media at the tournament.
The four-time Grand Slam singles champion was fined $15,000 after she did not
conduct a post-match press conference following her first-round win against Romanian
Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday.
The four Grand Slam organizers reacted strongly to Osaka’s move, releasing a joint
statement on Sunday that threatened the 23-year-old with potential disqualification
and a ban from future tournaments should she not reconsider.
In a tweet announcing the move, Japan’s Osaka also said she had “suffered long bouts
of depression” since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018.
“I never wanted to be a distraction,” the four-time major winner said.
On Sunday, Osaka won her opening match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig in
straight sets and was fined $15,000 (£10,570) for not doing post-match media.
Later that day, a joint statement from Grand Slam organizers said Osaka could face
expulsion from the tournament if she continued to avoid them.
That led to the player announcing her withdrawal on Monday, saying she was going to
“take some time away from the court now”.
“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,” she added.
French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moreton said the withdrawal of the second
seed was “unfortunate”.
“We are sorry and sad for Naomi,” Moretton added. “We wish her the best and quickest
possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our tournament next year.
“As all the Grand Slams, the WTA, the ATP, and the ITF, we remain very committed to all
athletes’ wellbeing and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in
our tournament, including with the media, like we have always strived to do.”