It’s been a bad few days for press conferences at the French Open.
Japan’s Naomi Osaka revealed just days before the grand slam was due to start she would be boycotting all post-match press conferences and media requirements, citing mental health reasons.
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Then Osaka stunned the French Open on Monday when she announced she was withdrawing from the tournament, explaining she had been suffering from depression for almost three years.
Now Czech star Petra Kvitova has been forced to pull out of the year’s second major, due to a mishap at the press conference following her first round win at Roland Garros.
The 11th seed, a Roland Garros semi-finalist in 2012 and 2020, had saved a match point in her victory over Belgian qualifier Greet Minnen on Monday (AEST).
In a statement posted to Twitter, the dual Wimbledon champion revealed she had suffered an ankle injury in a freak fall during her “post-match press requirements”.
“It is with great disappointment that I announce my withdrawal from Roland Garros,” the 31-year-old said.
“During my post-match press requirements … I fell and hurt my ankle. 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 the grass-court season.”
Kvitova has had little luck with injuries during her career, having missed five months after being injured in a knife attack at her home in 2016.
Meanwhile, world No. 1 Ash Barty marked her return to Paris for the first time since her 2019 title triumph by beating American left-hander Bernarda Pera 6-4 3-6 6-2.
After easing through the first set on Court Philippe Chatrier, Barty went off the boil in the second and called for the trainer at the changeover. The Australian had arrived on court with a heavy strapping on her leg having also suffered a tournament-ending injury in Rome two weeks ago.
However, she broke the 70th-ranked Pera for a 4-2 lead in the decider and never looked back.
In other results, fifth seed Elina Svitolina recovered from a 2-5 second set deficit to beat French teenager Oceane Babel 6-2 7-5.
Svitolina, a three-time quarter-finalist in Paris, will face world No. 75 Ann Li of the United States for a place in the last 32.
Li marked her French Open debut with a 45-minute 6-0 6-1 demolition of Margarita Gasparyan.
Venus Williams, playing the tournament for the 24th time and a runner-up 19 years ago, saw her 89th Grand Slam end as Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova eased to a 6-3, 6-1 win.
Originally published as Star injured in freak press conference incident