Sunday, June 20

Serena Williams offers support to Naomi Osaka after withdrawal from French Open

Serena Williams, the idol of Naomi Osaka in her tennis career, gave her support to the world’s No. 2 star after she decided to withdraw from the 2021 French Open.

Shortly after Osaka announced he would be exiting the French Open, Williams, who was coming off a first-round win at Rolland-Garros, said he feels for Osaka and knows what it’s like to face pressure from the media. according to New York Times reporter Ben Rothenberg.

“The only thing I feel is how I feel about Naomi,” Williams said. “I feel like I wish I could give him a hug because I know what he’s like. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions.”

MORE: Full giveaways, TV coverage, channels and more to watch every French Open match

Osaka announced on Twitter on Monday he would leave this year’s French Open and “take time off the pitch.”

In his post, he revealed that he has suffered “long bouts of depression” since the 2018 US Open and that talking to the press after games can bring “huge waves of anxiety.”

Williams said that everyone handles situations differently and that “you just have to let her handle it the way [Osaka] he wants, the best way he thinks he can. “

Williams then added when asked if the WTA and Grand Slam tournaments are doing enough to help players’ mental health issues that “you really have to step up and put in an effort, just like anything else.”

“You have to be able to make an effort and say, I need help with A, B, C and D, and talk to someone. I think it is very important to have a sounding board, whether it is someone in the WTA or if it is someone in your life. Maybe it’s someone you talk to weekly, “Williams said. “I’ve been in that position too. I’ve definitely had the opportunity to talk to people, to get things off my chest that I can’t necessarily talk to anyone in my family or someone I know.

“For me it is important to have conscience and to take that step.”

Osaka started the tournament by saying that he would not speak to the press, as he felt that people often did not take into account the mental health of athletes. In response, the bosses of the four Grand Slam tournaments fined her $ 15,000 and noted that she could face a foul at the French Open and face possible Grand Slam violations.

Williams was the last athlete to offer support to Osaka. Usain Bolt, Venus Williams and Coco Gauff all left messages of support for the tennis star amid her decision to exit the French Open.

According to a report by Yahoo! sports, French Tennis Federation President Gilles Moretton said during a press conference that Osaka’s withdrawal from Roland-Garros was “unfortunate” and said that the French Open wishes him “the best and fastest possible recovery, and we hope to have Naomi in our tournament next year. ” . “

“Like all Grand Slams, the WTA, the ATP and the ITF, we remain highly committed to the well-being of all athletes and to continually improving all aspects of the player experience at our tournament, including the media. , like us. I’ve always strived to do, “Moretton said.

He did not stay for questions from journalists.

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