Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open amid furore over media boycott - Here's what's happening

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Tuesday, June 01, 2021, 11:08 AM IST
article-image
Japan's Naomi Osaka returns the ball to Romania's Patricia Maria Tig during their first round match of the French open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium on May 30, 2021 | Photo: PTI

Top ranked tennis player Naomi Osaka has found herself at the centre of a brewing debate after announcing her decision to boycott press conferences during the ongoing French Open. The intention here, Osaka had explained, was to safeguard her mental health.

But even as countless individuals across the globe weighed in on her decision, the world number two was fined $15,000 on Sunday for skipping the press conference following her win in the first round. The tournament organisers also said that the Japanese tennis star could be subjected to additional sanctions if she continues to "ignore her media obligations".

Soon after this, Osaka withdrew from the competition altogether. In a statement that was shared on Twitter, she revealed that she had battled depression for nearly three years and faced social anxiety while fielding questions from the press. Osaka added that while the tennis press had always been kind to her, she was "not a natural public speaker" and would get "huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world's media".

"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 that 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," she wrote.

Following the revelations, there has been a huge wave of support for Osaka. Martina Navratilova and Serena Williams have spoken out publicly in her support

"I am so sad about Naomi Osaka. I truly hope she will be ok. As athletes we are taught to take care of our body, and perhaps the mental and emotional aspect gets short shrift," tweeted Martina, who added that Naomi's decision was not just about press conferences.

Serena Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, said that she felt for Osaka and wanted to hug her. "I have been where I have been very difficult to walk in (to press conferences) in those moments. But, you know, it made me stronger," she added.

(With inputs from agencies)

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

'Passenger safety is paramount', says Civil Aviation Minister Scindia after DGCA issues show-cause...

'Passenger safety is paramount', says Civil Aviation Minister Scindia after DGCA issues show-cause...

Thane: RPI (Ektawadi) demands action against illegal schools in Diva

Thane: RPI (Ektawadi) demands action against illegal schools in Diva

Thane: CM Eknath Shinde personally checks on lady constable who fainted during review meeting at...

Thane: CM Eknath Shinde personally checks on lady constable who fainted during review meeting at...

Rainfall across Maharashtra, Mumbai orange alert continues

Rainfall across Maharashtra, Mumbai orange alert continues

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann to get married for second time tomorrow; Arvind Kejriwal to attend

Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann to get married for second time tomorrow; Arvind Kejriwal to attend