Osaka threatened with disqualification, withdraws from French Open

Osaka threatened with disqualification, withdraws from French Open

Paris , France (AFP) — Naomi Osaka announced she was withdrawing from the French Open yesterday after she was threatened with disqualification for boycotting media duties, while on court, Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Iga Swiatek all reached the second round.

Japanese star Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, said before the tournament that she would not attend press conferences to protect her mental health, saying the traditional post-match inquests are like “kicking people when they're down”.

She refused to speak to the media after her first-round victory on Sunday.

The organisers of the four major tournaments — the Australian, French and US Opens as well as Wimbledon — responded by fining the world number two US$15,000 and threatening her with further sanctions, including defaulting her from Roland Garros.

But the 23-year-old said she has suffered from depression since winning her first Slam in the infamous US Open final three years ago against Serena Williams, and pulled out of the event.

“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,” Osaka wrote in a statement on Twitter.

“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.”

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