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Tennis star Naomi Osaka quits French Open citing mental health concerns
Updated: 2021-06-01 15:08:47 KST
Tennis star Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open on Monday, local time, after last week refusing to participate in press events, citing mental health concerns.
A day before, the four-time Grand Slam champion was fined 15-thousand U.S. dollars by Roland Garros and warned she could be disqualified for skipping media obligations.
Osaka stated on Monday she would quit so as not to distract others involved, and revealed her bouts with depression since 2018 something she had never before spoken about in public.

"whenever I come here, especially even the first time that I came here, everyone's been so kind and welcoming in a way and it's definitely one of my favourite grand slams."

She also emphasized she would never trivialize mental health before calling certain rules in tennis outdated.

"It's time to seriously rethink about what obligation the professional athlete has in front of the public. I think human rights has to come first compared to other reasons. I think this is based on the capitalism system where they pay them to be there, they give them money to play. But above all, I think athletes should be protected

Osaka's struggle has gained support from athletes around the world, including her childhood idol Serena Williams.

"I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it's like We have different personalities, and people are different. Not everyone is the same. I'm thick, you know, other people are thin."

But some of Osaka's contemporaries had questioned her prior decision not to speak with reporters.
2019 French Open champion Ashleigh Barty said pressers are part of the job and that pros know what they sign up for.
Rafael Nadal, meanwhile, believes celebrated athletes wouldn't be where they are now if it weren't for media publicity.
The French Open had previously called Osaka's decision a phenomenal mistake but have since backtracked, wishing the 23 year-old a swift recovery.

"First and foremost, we are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka. The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery"

Had she not forfeited, Osaka would have faced Romania's Ana Bogdan in the second round.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.
Reporter : alicosell@arirang.com