Naomi Osaka has thanked her fans for their support after the four-time major winner withdrew from the French Open citing mental health issues.
- Osaka says she appreciated the support shown to her following her decision
- She withdrew from the French Open following her first-round match
- It is unclear when Osaka will return to the WTA Tour
Osaka announced prior to the French Open she would not attend the tournament’s mandatory post-match media conferences, which she said put undue pressure on players.
She was fined $US15,000 ($19,380) after she skipped her media conference following her first-round victory in Paris last Sunday (local time) and later confirmed she was withdrawing from the tournament, revealing she had been suffering from bouts of depression for several years.
Osaka’s decision lead to an outpouring of support around the world.
“Just want to thank you for all the love,” she wrote in an Instagram story.
“Haven’t been on my phone much but I wanted to hop on here and tell you all that I really appreciate it.”
Following her withdrawal, the Japanese world number two explained her decision.
“This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago,” Osaka wrote on Twitter last week.
“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my wellbeing is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.
“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer.”
The International Tennis Federation has promised a comprehensive review on how players and media interact during tournaments, saying it takes mental health issues extremely seriously.
It is unclear whether Osaka will return to the game in time for Wimbledon, which begins later this month.
Osaka is one of the best-known and most marketable players in the game and, in the past, has used her position to call attention to issues of police violence and racial inequality.