All General Discussion concerning WTA and ATP
Naomi Osaka makes grocery run after French Open withdrawal
She’s gone from hitting the court to pushing a cart.
Tennis star Naomi Osaka, who abruptly withdrew from the French Open amid a battle with depression and anxiety, stepped out Wednesday for a trip to a Los Angeles supermarket, photos obtained by The Post show.
Wearing a bright orange hat, matching pants, a Mulan t-shirt and a blue facemask, Osaka strolled into the store after arriving in her white Nissan GT-R Nismo.
While other luminaries of the sport battled it out on the clay courts of Roland-Garros, the 23-year-old star was on her own, pushing a shopping cart and at one point holding some potatoes in her hand as if she were holding tennis balls before a serve.
When the French Open slapped Osaka with a $15,000 fine and threatened to boot her if she kept up the media boycott, she withdrew from the tournament voluntarily on Monday.
“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the others players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” Osaka wrote in part in a Monday tweet. “I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer.
“More importantly I would never trivialize 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 continued. “So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious, so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences.”
Wimbledon 2021: Tournament looks to improve media operations
Wimbledon is looking at ways to improve its media operations, according to its chief executive Sally Bolton.
Last month, world number two Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open after saying she would not do news conferences at Roland Garros to protect her mental health.
Osaka is due to play at Wimbledon, which starts on 28 June.
"We have started a consultation," Bolton told BBC Radio 4's Today Programme.
"Of course, that consultation needs to include not just the players, but the media and all of those engaged in that space.
"We are always striving to do things better."
Bolton also confirmed that the tournament had been in contact with Osaka's team after the 23-year-old's withdrawal from the second Grand Slam event of the year.
"We have spoken to her team in the last few weeks," she said. "So yes, we're certainly remaining engaged with Naomi's team, as we are with all players."
Andy Murray and Venus Williams given Wimbledon wildcards
On Wednesday, tournament director Jamie Baker said he had told Osaka's entourage that the phone lines were always open to discuss any issues that might arise.
"It's absolutely clear that we're here, we're completely open for any discussions when they want to have that," he said.
"Hopefully it goes without saying that we want the best players competing here no matter what."
Capacity crowd for finals
Both Wimbledon singles finals will be played in front of capacity crowds - the first UK outdoor sporting events to do so since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
With the event part of a government trial for the suspension of masks and social distancing, face coverings will not have to be worn when spectators are in their seats.
However, they will have to be worn by fans moving around the grounds, and organisers "expect there still to be a form of social distancing" around the grounds and in queues.
Initially, there will be 50% capacity allowed in the grounds. That will then rise throughout the tournament before the two finals, which take place on the 15,000-capacity Centre Court on 10 and 11 July.
"We're very confident that we'll be able to deliver a very safe environment in which to increase our spectator base," added Bolton.
"It's also important for us actually to be part of helping to understand how we can get our sector back to full fans, and we're delighted to be part of that programme.
"It's fantastic that we're in a situation where not only can we welcome the world's best players back to our grass courts, but we can also welcome a good number of fans into our stadia to create that really special shared experience of the championships."