Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from French Tennis Open citing stress from having to address world's media. Japan's world number two Osaka, 23, announced she did not want to do interviews after her matches to "protect her mental health". Women's Tennis Association said this was in breach of her obligations as professional player. It initially threatened to expel her from tournament if she did not talk to media. It has since backtracked and said it wants to "create meaningful improvements" in supporting players with mental health problems. It added: "We commend Naomi for sharing in her own words pressures and anxieties she is feeling."
Naomi Osaka is four-time Grand Slam singles champion and is reigning champion at US Open and the Australian Open. She has had problems coping with stress of being in spotlight as one of tennis' biggest stars. She said: "The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since US Open in 2018." Organisers of the four Opens have faced criticism for way they have handled Ms Osaka's mental health concerns. However, it recently stated: "We empathise with unique pressures tennis players may face." Many top players have said they are fully behind Ms Osaka. Serena Williams offered her support, saying: "I feel for Naomi....I wish I could give her hug."