WTA number 2 tennis player Naomi Osaka has announced that she won’t participate in The French Open (Roland-Garros), one of the best-known tennis tournament held in Europe. The news is huge for tennis fans and sports betting enthusiasts alike – Osaka was seen as one of the two favourite players for the tournament, expected to have a shot at winning Roland-Garros this year. With her withdrawal, the most likely winner of the tournament remains American player Serena Williams.
Announced on Twitter
Osaka announced her intention to withdraw from the tournament on her Twitter account earlier this week, writing “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”. Her anxiety and depression were pushed into overdrive by her recent discussions with the journalists interviewing her ahead of the tournament.
She admitted to having had issues with depression and anxiety since her first Grand Slam victory at the 2018 US Open that she had a hard time coping with ever since. She has also revealed that she is introverted and suffers from social anxiety – she is often seen wearing headphones to dull the noise of the crowd around her to cope. And whenever she has to speak in public, she experiences massive waves of anxiety.
Naomi Osaka was born in Japan but moved to New York with her family at an early age. Her father taught her to play tennis inspired by the Williams sisters upon their competition in the 1999 French Open.
Despite growing up and training in the US, Osaka has always represented Japan in the tournaments, a decision made by her parents at an early stage of her development. “Quite simply, Naomi and her sister Mari have always felt Japanese so that was our only rationale,” her parents told the press at the time.
Osaka’s tournament record as a youth is thin – she only played a few junior tournaments and skipped the ITF Junior Circuit almost entirely. She did, in turn, play her first qualifying matches for the ITF Women’s Circuit at the age of 14. Between 2011 and 2016, she continued to climb in the WTA rankings despite barely winning any major tournaments – by the end of 2015, she ranked WTA #144.
In the following years leading up to her US Open victory in 2018, she constantly improved, placing high in the rankings in various major tournaments and scoring several top 10 victories in the process. In 2018, she won not only in New York but at Indian Wells, too, reaching #4, while in the next year, she won the Australian Open and reached the #1 spot in the rankings. Last year, she won her second US Open title, followed by a victory at the Australian Open this year. She is currently #2 in the WTA rankings.