Canada News Agency

French Open contender Naomi Osaka to take time away from court

Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka has pulled out of the French Open after she failed to attend a news conference following her first-round win at the French Open on Sunday and was fined $15,000.

At the time she was also warned that her refusal to meet with the press could result in her expulsion from the tournament, as well as being barred from future major competitions.

The four-time major winner said Monday in a post on Twitter, she was withdrawing from the tournament so that "everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris." She added she would "take some time away from the court."

Osaka, ranked number two in the world, had earlier said she would not attend press conferences while in Paris, in a bid to raise awareness about the mental health of tennis players. She said the nature of questions from journalists is like "kicking a person when they are down".

Osaka began the French Open competition, also called Roland Garros, with a win over Romanian Patricia Maria Tig, following which she refused to attend the post-match news conference. She did, however, agree to be interviewed immediately after the match.

The supervising board said in a statement on Sunday that French Open officials had asked Osaka to reconsider her boycott of the media and had been unsuccessful in attempts to meet with her.

"The Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open jointly wrote to her to check on her well-being and offer support, underline their commitment to all athletes' well-being and suggest dialogue," the statement read.

"She was also reminded of her obligations, the consequences of not meeting them and that rules should equally apply to all players..Naomi Osaka today chose not to honour her contractual media obligations. The Roland Garros referee has therefore issued her a $15,000 fine."

Osaka, who according to sports business website Sportico earned $55.2 million during the past 12 months, has used her media attention to highlight issues of police violence and racial inequality.