Story at a glance

  • Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open on Monday.
  • She had been fined $15,000 the previous day for refusing to speak to the media after she won her first match.
  • Osaka cited a need to focus on her mental health when she withdrew, drawing support from fellow athletes.

Naomi Osaka is receiving support from fellow athletes after opening up about her mental health struggles.

The 23-year-old Japanese tennis star withdrew from the French Open on Monday, a day after being fined $15,000 for not talking to the media after she won her first match, citing a need to focus on her mental health.


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“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,” Osaka said on Twitter.

“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,” she wrote.

NBA’s Steph Curry commended her standing her ground.

Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez supported Osaka taking care of her mental health.

In response to Osaka’s Instagram, Usain Bolt sent three hands-praying emojis, and Venus Williams wrote, “So proud of you. Take care of yourself and see you back winning soon!”

Kyrie Irving wrote, “We are all with you Queen. Just Be You, that will always be enough.”


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Some, however, didn’t agree with her decision. Tennis icon Billie Jean King initially criticized the move, saying, "In our day, without the press, nobody would have known who we are or what we thought. There is no question [the press] helped build and grow our sport to what it is today.”

However, she backtracked after Osaka revealed her motivations, saying,It’s incredibly brave that Naomi Osaka has revealed her truth about her struggle with depression. Right now, the important thing is that we give her the space and time she needs. We wish her well.

Osaka arrived home in Los Angeles on Tuesday.


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Published on Jun 02, 2021