Japan’s Osaka left the claycourt Grand Slam after refusing to attend the mandatory post-match press conferences and revealing she had been suffering from bouts of depression for three years.
Two of tennis’s governing bodies have promised to review the impact of the press on players’ mental health after Naomi Osaka stunned the sporting world by walking out of the French Open to place the issue firmly in the spotlight.
The Grand Slam Committee which had threatened Osaka with fines and expulsion when the 23-year-old said she would not face the media after matches joined the outpouring of support for her mental health struggles following her exit.
In the Roland Garros first round, Osaka defeated Patricia Maria Tig and was set to face Ana Bogdan in the second round.Osaka is the world’s highest-earning female athlete currently, and made 37.4 million dollars approximately in 2020.
She hit the limelight in 2018 with a maiden Slam win at the US Open. Since then, she has gone on to win another US Open, and two Australian Open titles as well. Osaka is currently second in the WTA rankings.
Meanwhile, Will Smith took to social media to extend his support to Naomi Osaka. Sharing on Instagram, Smith’s post stated, ‘Hey Naomi, You are Right. They are Wrong! I am with you.’
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton hailed Naomi Osaka’s ‘bravery’ for pulling out of the French Open following her media engagement stand-off and criticised the way Roland Garros handled the issue. Tennis star Serena said.
Williams said: “The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi. I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it’s like. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions. We have different personalities, and people are different. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick (skinned). Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently.”