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The Significance Of Naomi Osaka’s Withdrawal From The French Open




Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a backhand in her First Round match against Patricia Maria Tig of Romania during Day One of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros on May 30, 2021 in Paris, France.
Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a backhand in her First Round match against Patricia Maria Tig of Romania during Day One of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros on May 30, 2021 in Paris, France.
Julian Finney/Getty Images

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Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open on Monday and wrote on Twitter that she would be taking a break from competition, a dramatic turn of events for a four-time Grand Slam champion who said she experiences “huge waves of anxiety” before speaking to the media and revealed she has “suffered long bouts of depression.”

Osaka’s agent, Stuart Duguid, confirmed in an email to The Associated Press that the world’s No. 2-ranked tennis player was pulling out before her second-round match at the clay-court tournament in Paris. The stunning move came a day after Osaka, a 23-year-old who was born in Japan and moved with her family to the U.S. at age 3, was fined $15,000 for skipping the post match news conference after her first-round victory at the French Open. She also was threatened by all four Grand Slam tournaments with possible additional punishment, including disqualification or suspension, if she continued with her intention — which Osaka revealed last week on Twitter — to not “do any press during Roland Garros.”

She framed the matter as a mental health issue, saying that it can create self-doubt to have to answer questions after a loss. Tennis stars and others offered support to Osaka after she cited anxiety and depression as reasons for bowing out of the competition. Today on AirTalk, we walk through what happened and break down the significance of Osaka’s move. What are your thoughts? Share in the comments or call 866-893-5722. 

With files from the Associated Press 

Guests:

Patrick McEnroe, ESPN commentator and host of the podcast “Holding Court with Patrick McEnroe,” he’s also a former professional tennis player; he tweets @PatrickMcEnroe

Kavitha A. Davidson, sports and culture writer for The Athletic, she writes about the intersection of sports and business, culture, race, and gender; she tweets @kavithadavidson