US Open 2021: Naomi Osaka says she did a ‘lot of things wrong’ in French Open media row

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka has played two tournaments since pulling out of the French Open on 31 May
Dates: 30 August-12 September Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York
Coverage: Daily radio commentaries on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra/BBC Sport website and app, with selected live text commentaries and match reports on the website and app.

Japan’s Naomi Osaka says she would handle her decision not to speak to the media at this year’s French Open differently if she had the chance now.

Speaking at the US Open in her first Grand Slam news conference since the controversy, Osaka added she did not know “how big a deal” the move – to protect her mental health – would be.

Osaka then withdrew from Roland Garros, revealing she had suffered depression.

“I feel there’s a lot of things that I did wrong in that moment,” said Osaka.

“But I’m also the type of person that’s very in the moment.”

The 23-year-old, who is defending her women’s singles title at the US Open, added: “I think there’s a lot of things that I learned to do better.

“Of course, I don’t feel the same situation will happen again.”

In the days leading up to the French Open, which started at the end of May, Osaka announced she would not be taking part in the news conferences.

After her opening match she was fined $15,000 (£10,570) for not doing media, with Grand Slam organisers saying Osaka could face expulsion from the tournament if she continued to avoid them.

That led to the player announcing her withdrawal the following day, revealing she had suffered from “long bouts of depression” and adding she planned to take time away from the court.

After missing Wimbledon, she returned to court at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games where she won her opening two matches before losing to Czech Marketa Vondrousova in the last 16.

“Whatever I feel, I’ll say it or do it. I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing,” added Osaka when she spoke at Flushing Meadows on Friday.

“I would say, maybe think it through a bit more, in the way that I didn’t know how big of a deal it would become.”

Last week she lost to Swiss wildcard Jil Teichmann in the third round of the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati.

A few days earlier, she broke down in tears before resuming her first news conference since the drama at Roland Garros.

Osaka, who was brought up in Queen’s, near Flushing Meadows, said it “feels really nice” to back at the place where she won her first Grand Slam title and is bidding for a third triumph in four years.

“I think the biggest memory that comes back to me is being a little kid, running around the entire site,” she added.

“I don’t know if that may be the reason why I play so well here, but there’s definitely a lot of nostalgia.

“I know I haven’t played that many matches. But actually I feel pretty happy with how I’m playing.”

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