TENNIS MEGASTAR Naomi Osaka has returned back to her $7million Beverly Hills palatial after her stunning withdrawal from the French Open after refusing to end her media boycott and coping with her mental health.
The 23-year-old Japanese phenom, who is the world’s highest-paid female athlete, had jetted out of Paris soon after she silenced the tennis galaxy by backing out of the Slam at Roland Garros.
She was photographed stepping out from an SUV on Tuesday afternoon sporting a blue medical facemask, sunglasses, a white and purple tie-dye hooded sweatsuit, black baseball cap, white puffy Beats cordless headphones, a watermelon-colored terrycloth racquet bag slung over her shoulder, custom Nike sneakers and lugging a huge stuffed white with gold-trim duffle bag.
The talented player can enjoy the solace of the 4,000-plus square foot home tucked in the posh Post Office neighborhood that she purchased from superstar pop crooner Nick Jonas back in 2019 for $6.9million, according to Dirt.com.
The world's No2 was fined £10,600 for not speaking after her first-round victory in Paris, where she cited her bout with mental health issues.
Facing the potential of expulsion from other tournaments, Osaka publicly poured out how she has been gripping with anxiety and stressing having to face the media during the tournaments.
Osaka Twitter post reads: “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.
“…I would never trivialise mental health or use the term lightly.
“The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”
She then delved into her fears of having to perform before the media during the requisite avails, relying on playing music in headphones to “dull” her anxiety.
“Though the tennis press has always been kind to me – and I want to apologise especially to all the cool journalists 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.”
French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton appeared to hold out hope that Osaka could return next year: "We are very sorry and sad that Naomi Osaka has withdrawn.
"The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland Garros is unfortunate.
"We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi in our tournament next year.
"As all the Grand Slams, the WTA, the ATP, and the ITF, we remain very committed to all athletes' well-being, and to continually improving every aspect of players' experience in our tournament, including with the media, like we have always strived to do. Thank you."
Tennis legend and barrier breaker Billie Jean King said: "It’s incredibly brave that Naomi Osaka has revealed her truth about her struggle with depression.
"Right now, the important thing is that we give her the space and time she needs. We wish her well."
Six-time Grand Slam champion Boris Becker wasn’t as understanding.
The German athlete said that dealing with the media blitz comes with the turf of being a world-class athlete.
The 53-year-old told the Eurosport Cube: “Without the media there isn’t any prize money, there isn’t any contracts. And you don’t get half the cake.
"I hated the media personally. I didn’t like to speak to journalists but I had to do it.
“She has cited that she is pulling out of the tournament altogether because she can’t cope with it.
"That raises much bigger questions for me because if she can’t cope with the media in Paris, she can’t cope with the media at Wimbledon, she can’t cope with the media at the US Open.
“I almost feel like her career is in danger because of mental health issues and that we should take very seriously.”
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