Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has admitted that she "did a lot of things wrong" at this year's French Open. Before the start of the French Open, Osaka announced she would not be doing press conferences due to her mental health wellbeing.
Following her first round win at the French Open, Osaka did an on-court interview but refused to do a press conference. After receiving a hard criticism, Osaka decided to pull out of the rest of the French Open and also skip Wimbledon.
"I feel like there's a lot of things that I did wrong in that moment...Of course, I don't feel the same situation will happen again. But I would say maybe...think through a bit more...I didn't know how big of a deal would become," Osaka said during her pre-tournament press conference at the US Open, per Daniel Kaplan.
Osaka didn't want to be a 'distraction'
"Hey everyone, this isn't a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. 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," Osaka said in a statement posted on her Twitter following her first round win at the French Open.
"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 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.
Anyone that knows me knows that I'm introverted, and anyone that's seen me at tournaments will notice that I'm often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety. "Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologize especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world's media.
I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can. "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I announced it pre-emptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that. "I wrote privately to the tournament apologising and saying that I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament as the Slams are intense.
I'm gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans. Anyways hope you are all doing well and staying safe, love you guys. I'll see you when I see you."