“Feeling Vulnerable and Anxious”: Naomi Osaka Withdraws From French Open 2021 Citing Mental Health Issues

Published 05/31/2021, 2:00 PM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 24: Naomi Osaka of Japan speaks to media following her Women’s Singles third round defeat to Coco Gauff of the United States of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)


Four-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka, who won her first-round match against Patricia Maria Tig at the French Open, has announced a shocking news before her second-round match.

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The Australian Open 2021 winner has announced a shock withdrawal from the French Open, after receiving huge backlash for her decision to skip the pressers in Paris.

Tennis -WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 12, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her second road match against Jessica Pegula of U.S. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

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I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly”, Osaka mentioned in her statement.

“I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts” – Naomi Osaka

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 I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts”, opined the Japanese.

The move comes after fans, critics, and journalists have expressed their opinion on the Japanese player skipping the press-conferences. While Osaka maintained that the decision was not at all biased and the only reason she opted out of media interaction is to safeguard her mental health, the reactions have been extremely negative from the tennis world.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Taking the reactions into account, Osaka might have decided to opt out of French Open suddenly. Even this decision seems impulsive and instant from the Japanese.

The Japanese played well in her first match against Tig. While the Romanian tried her best to push Osaka to a third set, the latter’s aggression from the baseline ensured that the match didn’t reach.

Osaka confessed that she has been dealing with depression since 2018 US Open

Despite the victory, there was constant criticism on Naomi Osaka for skipping the pressers. The grand slam board, comprising the organizers of all four slams(Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open) also issued a joint statement which imposed further stress on Osaka.

In the statement, the grand slam board informed Osaka that there would be dire consequences if she continues to skip pressers at slams and could also be defaulted from tournaments.

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Also, in the post Osaka explained the depression that she has been dealing with since the US Open in 2018. There was high-drama in the final moments of the championship match against Serena Williams. The American was handed a game penalty, which enforced Osaka to serve for her first grand slam title.

After the victory, the Japanese player was booed by fans at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Now that Osaka has expressed what she is dealing with, it has once again led us to believe that how vulnerable sports stars can be.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

201 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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