Tuesday 1 June 2021 9:47 am

French Open chiefs 'sorry and sad' at 'unfortunate' withdrawal of Naomi Osaka following row over media duties

French Open organisers say they are “sorry and sad” after women’s world No2 Naomi Osaka pulled out of the tennis grand slam.

Osaka withdrew on Monday following a row over her refusal to take part in post-match press conferences.

She revealed in her statement that she had suffered long bouts of depression, and said it was a factor in her reluctance to engage with media.

“First and foremost, we are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka,” said Gilles Moretton, president of the French Tennis Federation.

“The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland-Garros is unfortunate.

“We wish her the best and quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our tournament next year.”

Osaka was fined more than £10,000 on Sunday for carrying out the threat to skip media duties after her first-round win at the French Open.

The following day the 23-year-old announced her withdrawal, saying she did not want distract attention from the tournament.

She added: “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.

“I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media.

“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.”

Four-time grand slam winner Osaka said she would be taking a break from tennis but wanted to work with the women’s tour to “make things better for players, press and fans”.

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