Nike backing Naomi Osaka after she withdraws from French Open amid struggle with depression
Sports apparel giant Nike came out in support of tennis star Naomi Osaka on Tuesday after she announced she would be withdrawing from the French Open in order to focus on her mental health.
“Our thoughts are with Naomi. We support her and recognize her courage in sharing her own mental health experience,” Nike said, according to CNN.
Osaka announced on Monday that she would be withdrawing from the event, writing in a statement on Twitter that the “best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw.”
She had been fined $15,000 by tournament officials for refusing to speak to media after she stated she would not do so for her mental health. Media interviews are mandatory as per the tournament’s code of conduct.
Osaka, 23, signed a sponsorship deal with Nike in 2019. Forbes reports that Osaka is paid around $10 million a year by Nike as part of a deal to create clothing collections with the company.
CNN notes that Osaka’s other sponsors, including Mastercard and Nissin Foods, have also come out in support of her.
“Naomi Osaka’s decision reminds us all how important it is to prioritize personal health and well-being,” Mastercard said. “We support her and admire her courage to address important issues, both on and off the court.”
“We pray for Ms Naomi Osaka’s earliest recovery, and wish her continue success,” a spokesperson for Nissin Foods told CNN.
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