In a published statement, Osaka stated that she had no idea what situation her status might raise. The four-time Grand Slam champion wrote: “I think the best in the entire tournament, the other players and my peace of mind will be when I quit so everyone can focus again on tennis in Paris.”
The French Open organizers expressed their sympathy for the Japanese star. “First of all, we are sorry and we feel with Naomi Osaka,” said Gilles Moreton, president of the French Tennis Federation, who strongly criticized the boycott before the tournament. He described her current movement as unhappy. “We wish her the best and fastest recovery possible. We look forward to seeing her next year,” he added.
Martina Navratilova, the eighteen-time Grand Slam champion, was also surprised by the development of the case. “I am so sad about that. I really hope you are well,” said the Czech national. “As athletes, they teach us how to take care of our bodies, and the mental and emotional side may be very short. It’s more than just going to the press or not,” she added.
She appreciated that Osaka had decided not to reinforce the situation. “Naomi’s honor is that she cares so much about the other players. But while she has tried to improve the situation for herself and others, she has inadvertently made her worse. I hope that this solution, resigning, even if it is brutal, will allow her to start,” Navratilova said.
Osaka was fined $ 15,000 (more than 381,000 crowns) in Paris for failing to attend a mandatory press conference after a first-round match. In addition, Grand Slam organizers warned her that if she continued the boycott, she was threatened with expulsion not only from the French Open, but also from other Big Four tournaments.
Osaka admitted that she could have better timing and explained her announcement. However, he considers the athletes’ mental health to be essential from his own experience. “The truth is, I have suffered from long bouts of depression since the US Open 2018, and I’ve had trouble dealing with it. Everyone who knows me knows I’m an introvert, and you often see me wearing headphones at tournaments, which helps me overcome my social anxiety.”
It was pressure to appear in front of the media that Osaka identified as the main reason for her boycott. She admitted that tennis journalists never treated her unfairly, but she was often attacked with panic attacks before press conferences.