In an ironic twist to the Naomi Osaka storyline, Czech tennis star Petra Kvitová has withdrawn from the French Open after injuring herself while attending her mandatory press conference on Sunday.
“It is with great disappointment that I announce my withdrawal from Roland Garros. During my post-match press requirements on Sunday I fell and hurt my ankle,” said the 31-year-old Kvitová, the world’s No. 12-ranked player and a two-time Wimbledon champion.
She added: “Unfortunately, after an MRI and much discussion with my team, I have made the tough decision that it would be unwise to play on it.
“It’s incredibly bad luck, but I will stay strong and do my best to recover in time for grass-court season.”
Kvitova’s declaration came one day after Osaka, the world’s No. 2 and a four-time Grand Slam champion, withdrew from Roland Garros citing mental health concerns associated with talking to the press. She had previously been fined $15,000 by the French Open after declaring she would skip her media responsibilities.
“Hey everyone, this isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago,” Osaka, 23, wrote on Monday. “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 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.”
Osaka — who revealed she has battled depression since winning her first U.S. Open over Serena Williams in the controversial 2018 final in which she cried under a towel during the awards ceremony — also said she planned to “take some time away from the court now.”
It’s unclear what Osaka’s next step will be. Wimbledon begins June 28 and that will be followed later this summer by the Tokyo Olympics and then the U.S. Open, which she has won twice.
Tennis legends Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova both spoke out in support of Osaka on Tuesday. Navratilova had initially said on Tennis Channel Osaka needed to “woman up” and face the press.
The leaders of the four Grand Slam events issued a joint statement Tuesday expressing concern for Osaka, but it stopped short of an apology.
“Together as a community, we will continue to improve the player experience at our tournaments, including as it relates to media,” the statement said in part.