Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka returned home to Los Angeles on Tuesday, the day after she spectacularly pulled out of the French Open after an argument over her decision not to give interviews during the tournament to protect her mental health.
Osaka, the highest paid female athlete in the world, came over from Paris shortly after revealing her three-year struggle with depression.
“I think it is now best for the tournament, the other players and my well-being that I withdraw so that everyone can focus again on the tennis that is happening in Paris,” Osaka said in an Instagram post on Monday. that she struggled with depression and anxiety.
She had never spoken publicly about her depression, which she said started after her 2018 victory over her childhood hero Serena Williams at the United States Open, in front of a crowd that strongly supported her opponent.
Osaka, second in the world, played its first game on Sunday, beating Romanian Patricia Maria Tig, 63rd.
Naomi Osaka, 23, was seen returning home to her Beverly Hills residence on Tuesday afternoon, the day after she shocked the sports world by announcing she was withdrawing from the French Open.
The Japanese athlete was seen getting out of a black SUV in Los Angeles on Tuesday afternoon after returning home from Paris. Osaka played on Sunday, easily beating Patricia Maria Tig to advance to the second round. She withdrew from the tournament the next day
The world’s number two came into action in Paris on Sunday and appeared to have decided to pay the $15,000 fine
Osaka was spotted returning to her $6.9 million Beverly Hills home Wednesday afternoon, which she bought from singer Nick Jonas in August 2019.
Built in 1965, the 4,000-square-foot five-bedroom home has spectacular views of Los Angeles from a solid wood deck, cantilevered over the valley below, with an infinity pool.
The 23-year-old wore a $332 tie-dye tracksuit from the Mambacita range, launched May 1 by Vanessa Bryant, widow of the late NBA star Kobe Bryant.
Osaka was a great admirer of Bryant and met him in 2019 after her agent put them in touch.
She described him as a mentor and one who taught her to deal with the rigors of professional sport.
“He taught me that although it’s difficult right now, if you keep going, you’ll get the result,” Osaka told Vogue magazine.
“Or you may not get the result, but you will get the chance to get the result.”
The Japanese sports superstar wore white Beats by Dre headphones and carried her gear in a Louis Vuitton bag.
Beats is one of her many sponsors and helped her raise $55.2 million in the past 12 months. Only $5.2 million came from tennis winnings, with the rest coming from endorsement deals with Nike, Beats by Dre, Mastercard and Nissin.
Osaka divides her time between LA and Florida, where she settles in Boca Raton.
Born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, she moved to New York in the US when she was three years old and started her professional tennis career in 2013.
Her decision to withdraw from the French Open, four-time Grand Slam winner, shocked the sport and divided her fellow tennis players and fans.
The tournament started on Sunday. On Wednesday, as players arrived in Paris for the start of the tournament, Osaka tweeted that it would not hold press conferences because they were unnecessarily stressful and “without regard for athletes’ mental health.”
Osaka was fined $15,000 for refusing to appear before the media, and a joint statement by all four Grand Slam organizers said she will face “more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions” if she continues her boycott.
Five days after her tweet, she announced her withdrawal.
Rafael Nadal, who was trying to win his 14th Roland Garros title in the next two weeks, confirmed his “respect” for Osaka and her decision, but said he felt press conferences were necessary to promote sport.
“We as sports people, I mean, we have to be ready to accept the questions and try to answer them, don’t we?” he said Friday.
“I understand her, but on the other hand, for me, without the press, without the people who normally travel, who write the news and the achievements that we have around the world, we probably won’t be the athletes that we are today.
“We wouldn’t get the recognition we have around the world, and we won’t be that popular, are we?”
Ashleigh Barty, the women’s number one, agreed that press conferences were essential.
“We know what we’re signing up for as professional tennis players,” the Australian said on Friday.
“I can’t really say anything about how Naomi feels or her decisions that she makes.
‘Press conferences are sometimes difficult, of course, but it is also not something I am working on. I’ve never had a problem answering questions or being completely honest with you guys. It’s not something that has ever surprised me too much. ‘
Boris Becker, three-time Wimbledon champion, said: “Without the media there is no prize money, no contracts.
“And you don’t get half the pie. I personally hated the media. I didn’t like talking to journalists, but I had to.
“She has said she will withdraw from the tournament altogether because she cannot handle it. That raises much bigger questions for me because if she can’t handle the media in Paris, she can’t handle the media at Wimbledon, she can’t handle the media at the US Open.
“I almost feel like her career is in jeopardy because of mental health issues and we have to take that very seriously.”
Osaka’s sponsors, including Nike and Mastercard, have supported her decision.
Osaka hero Serena Williams said she wished she could “give her a hug.”
“All I feel is I feel for Naomi,” Williams said after her first round win over Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu.
“I feel like I’d like to give her a hug because I know what it’s like. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions,’
‘Not everyone is the same. We have different personalities. I’m fat. Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently.
“You just have to let her do it the way she wants and the best way she thinks she can.
“That’s all I can say: I think she’s doing her best.”