“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,” the world number two wrote on Twitter.
The 23-year-old Japanese star was fined US$15,000 on Sunday and threatened with disqualification after she refused to carry out a mandatory news conference following her first round win.
She claimed on the eve of Roland Garros that such post-match inquests were akin to “kicking people when they are down” and that they had a detrimental effect on her mental health.
“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer,” the four-time Grand Slam title winner said in her statement.
“The truth is I have suffered bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”
She added: “In Paris, I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences.
“I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite out-dated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.” (AFP)