Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open following row over media boycott

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka stunned the French Open on Monday when she announced she was withdrawing from the tournament in the wake of her decision to boycott post-match media duties.

Osaka said in the build-up to the tournament that she would not attend the obligatory press conferences, citing that the way journalists quiz players adversely impacts her mental well-being.

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The four-time Grand Slam champion made good on her threat on Sunday when, after winning her first-round match, she did not hold a press conference.

She was fined $15,000 by Grand Slam organizers who issued a statement later warning of possible expulsion from Roland Garros and future majors if she fails to change her stance.

On Monday, the world number two decided to take matters into her own hands to end the stand-off.

“This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago,” the 23-year-old Osaka said on Twitter.

“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, one of the biggest name’s in women’s sport, went on to say she had suffered from depression since 2018.

“The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the U.S. Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that,” she said.

“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.”

There was no immediate response from tournament organizers.

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