Naomi Osaka Announced Withdrawal from 2021 French Open

Naomi Osaka announced on Monday that she is withdrawing from the 2021 French Open, one day after she was fined $15,000 for refusing to attend to her media obligations.

She said she “never wanted to be a distraction” from the other players participating in the event in a statement released on her Twitter feed. 

“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,” Osaka wrote. 

“More importantly, I would never trivialize 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,” she added.

Roland Garros issued a statement in response to her exit from the Tournament after Osaka’s announcement:

“First and foremost, we are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka. The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland-Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the 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’ well-being and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our Tournament, including with the Media, like we have always strived to do.”

Osaka has previously said she would not participate in press conferences at Roland Garros, citing her mental health. She felt “people have no regard for athletes’ mental health.” She criticized Grand Slam tennis for enforcing the media requirements on players.

“If the organizations think they can keep saying, ‘do press or you’re going to get fined,’ and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centerpiece of their cooperation, then I just gotta laugh,” Osaka wrote.