Naomi Osaka Says Meghan Markle Offered Support After Dropping Out Of French Open For Mental Health Reasons
She might be a giant in the world of tennis, but Naomi Osaka is still a human. This is the message fans, and critics of the tennis star should take away this week after Osaka announced that she would be skipping out on a press conference at the French Open due to mental health reasons. The message to take away, for those who have not heard, should not be a fifteen thousand dollar fine.
Recently, the tennis star penned a personal essay for TIME, and wrote of her decision to take a break for the sake of her mental health.
The young tennis star revealed that various people reached out to give her support after making her decision—including Michelle Obama, Steph Curry, and Meghan Markle.
“I want to thank everyone who supported me. There are too many to name, but I want to start with my family and friends, who have been amazing,” Osaka wrote in her essay. “There is nothing more important than those relationships. I also want to thank those in the public eye who have supported, encouraged, and offered such kind words. Michelle Obama, Michael Phelps, Steph Curry, Novak Djokovic, Meghan Markle, to name a few.”
In July, the tennis star announced that she would miss the press conferences at the French Open for her mental health.
Soon after, Osaka revealed that she would withdraw from the French Open after it was revealed that she was fined $15,000 for missing out on the press conferences. “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 wrote in a post shared to Twitter.
Speaking about her decision, Osaka revealed that she has struggled with severe anxiety during conversations with the media. “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 explained on Twitter.
Soon after Osaka’s announcement, French Tennis Federation President Gilles Moretton commented that her decision to withdraw was “unfortunate.”
“First and foremost, we are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka. The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland-Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our Tournament next year.
“As all the Grand Slams, the WTA, the ATP, and the ITF, we remain very committed to all athletes’ well-being and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our Tournament, including with the Media, like we have always strived to do,” Moretton said in a statement. “Her decision sparked conversations about the responsibility of athletes to make themselves available to probing questions amid the tension of a major tournament. Retired tennis players Patrick McEnroe and Billie Jean King weighed in, and conservative media figures also reacted with outrage.”
According to FFT, press interviews are mandatory for those taking part in the French Open.
As a result, Osaka was fined $15,000 for not living up to her “contractual media obligations.” It was also noted that she could potentially be removed from the Tournament entirely if she continued to pass press conversations.
“A core element of the Grand Slam regulations is the responsibility of the players to engage with the media, whatever the result of their match, a responsibility which players take for the benefit of the sport, the fans, and for themselves,” organizers for the Tournament explained.
Speaking about the rules, Osaka ridiculed them as outdated.
“I’m gonna take some time away from the court now,” she wrote. “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.”
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