The sportswoman explained that her decision was a bid to protect her mental health, revealing that she had suffered constant bouts of depression since winning her first grand slam title three years ago.
But Morgan dismissed her deeply personal admission, accusing her of “playing the mental health card” and branding her an “arrogant spoiled brat whose fame and fortune appears to have inflated her ego to gigantic proportions”.
The 56-year-old dismissed the allegations in a series of tweets, writing in response to one critic: “What does her skin colour have to do with it? I’d have written the same column if Naomi Osaka was white. For you to now play the race card to attack and silence any perfectly justified criticism of her behaviour is shameful.”
Here were some of his other retorts:
Are high-profile women of colour exempt from criticism regardless of their conduct? Sorry, I must have missed that… https://t.co/ZGn1wkW7mF
Osaka confirmed her withdrawal from the tournament on Monday night, writing on Twitter: “Hey everyone, this isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago.
“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.”
She continued: “I never wanted to be be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer.
“More importantly, I would never trivialise 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.
“Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety.
“Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologise especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media.”
Osaka ended her lengthy post: “I’m gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans.”