French Open officials insisted on Sunday that they treated Naomi Osaka with “care and respect” after being accused of being too harsh on the Japanese star, who withdrew from Roland Garros after revealing she was suffering from long-term depression.
For refusing to attend mandatory press conferences, world number two Osaka was fined $15,000 and threatened with Grand Slam disqualification.
“I believe we genuinely cared about her. We made a concerted effort to interact. “We were pragmatic in our approach to the progressive approach to sanctions,” said Amelie Oudea-Castera, director-general of the French Tennis Federation, as the tournament concluded on Sunday.
“We worked closely with all of the Slams to ensure that this was not a Roland Garros position. We took care of her after she dropped out of the tournament.
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“It was a very delicate and difficult situation, but we believe we handled it with respect and care.”
Osaka, 23, withdrew from the tournament after the first round, having previously informed organizers that she would not be attending press conferences.
She compared it to “kicking people when they’re down.”
She stated her intention to retire from tennis, casting doubt on her participation in Wimbledon, which begins in two weeks, as well as her home Olympics in Tokyo.