Japanese tennis star Osaka withdraws from French Open

<p>Naomi Osaka of Japan <em>(Mustafa Yalçın - Anadolu Agency)</em></p>

Naomi Osaka of Japan (Mustafa Yalçın - Anadolu Agency)

ISTANBUL – Japan tennis player Naomi Osaka announced Monday that she has withdrawn from the French Open, citing depression and anxiety.

"Hey everyone, this isn't a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris," Osaka said on Twitter.

"I never wanted to be a distraction. I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly," she added

Osaka also revealed that she had suffered bouts of depression since clinching her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2018, adding she has had a really hard time coping with that.

"Anyone that knows me knows that I'm introverted, and anyone that's seen me at tournaments will notice that I'm often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety."

The 23-year-old went to on say that she gets “huge waves of anxiety” before speaking to the media.

"Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologize especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world's media. I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can," she added.

The Japanese star has two Australian Opens (2019 and 2021) and two US Open titles (2018 and 2020) to her name. (Anadolu)