Current WTA world number 3 Naomi Osaka came back to talk about everything that happened at the Roland Garros this season, admitting that she has done a lot of wrong things. Prior to the start of the clay court tournament, the Japanese announced that she would not be giving press conferences due to her state of mental health.
After the first round victory with Romanian Tig, she gave an interview on the field but later refused to make herself available to the media. After receiving harsh criticism for her choice, she decided to permanently retire from the French Open, later skipping Wimbledon too.
“I feel like there are a lot of things that I did wrong at that moment. Of course, I don’t think the same situation will happen again, but I would say that maybe we needed to think about it a little more. I didn’t know how big the deal was going to get,” confessed in a press conference a few days before the start of the US Open, the last Slam of 2021 in which she is called to defend the title.
“I apologized to the organizers of Roland Garros”
“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I retire, so that everyone can focus on the tennis going on in Paris,” was the famous tweet from Naomi Osaka, about which she returned to talk almost three months later: “I never wanted to be a distraction. 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. The truth is, I suffered long periods of depression from the US Open in 2018 and really had a hard time making it,” she admitted.
The Japanese continued: “Anyone who knows me knows that I am introverted and anyone who has seen me at tournaments will notice that I often wear headphones, because this helps me to dampen social anxiety. Even though the tennis press has always been nice to me (and I especially want to apologize to any journalists I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and I get huge waves of anxiety before speaking to media around the world.”
“I get very nervous and find it stressful to always try to involve and give the best answers. In Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious, so I thought it would be better to take care of yourself and skip the press conferences,” added the girl born in Osaka, who on the night of Tuesday 31 August will make her debut on US hardcourt with Czech Bouzkova.
She then concluded: “I announced it in advance because I believe that the rules are rather obsolete in some parts and I wanted to highlight it. I wrote privately to the organizers apologizing and saying that I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament, as the Grand Slams are intense.
I’m going to take some time off the court right now, but when the time comes I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can improve things for the players, the press and the fans. Anyway I hope you are all well and safe, I love you guys.”