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Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open over fine for avoiding press meet

Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open over fine for avoiding press meet

Women's tennis star and World No 2 ranked Naomi Osaka has announced her decision to withdraw from the French Open Championship after a series of controversies over her decision to avoid press conferences. Ms Osaka was fined $15,000 by the French Open organisers and warned that she could face expulsion from the tournament following her decision not to speak with the press during the tournament.

"This isn't a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago," Osaka wrote on social media. "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 also revealed that her decision was prompted by huge "waves" of anxiety that came from her introverted nature as well as the struggle with long bouts of depression since the 2018 US Open final.

"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 I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that," she wrote.

Gilles Moretton, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) president, said last Thursday that his organisation would penalise Osaka. The FFT has been criticised for what has been termed a 'heavy-handed' approach to the matter that only compounded Osama's struggles with her mental health versus her duties as a tennis player.

Osaka has received support from numerous public figures since her announcement. "Stay strong. I admire your vulnerability," wrote Coco Gauff in response.

Billie Jean King added on Twitter: "It's incredibly brave that Naomi Osaka has revealed her truth about her struggle with depression. Right now, the important thing is that we give her space and time she needs. We wish her well."

Mari Osaka, sister of the four-time grand slam champion, attempted to defend her sister in a Reddit post where she explained that media and public scrutiny had caused significant distress for her sister through repeated questioning of her ability on clay courts. The post was later deleted due to backlash.

"As athletes, we are taught to take care of our body, and perhaps the mental and emotional aspect gets short shrift. This is about more than doing or not doing a press conference. Good luck Naomi - we are all pulling for you!," said tennis star Martina Navratilova on Twitter.

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TAGS:Naomi Osaka French Open 
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