Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Tennis Open citing stress from having to address the world's media.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". The Women's Tennis Association said this was in breach of her obligations as a professional player. It initially threatened to expel her from the tournament if she did not talk to the 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 the pressures and anxieties she is feeling."
Naomi Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion and is the reigning champion at the US Open and the Australian Open. She has had problems coping with the stress of being in the spotlight as one of tennis' biggest stars. She said: "The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018." Organisers of the four Opens have faced criticism for the way they have handled Ms Osaka's mental health concerns. However, it recently stated: "We empathise with the 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 a hug."