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Sport Serena Williams offers support to Naomi Osaka following French Open withdrawal

20:56  01 june  2021
20:56  01 june  2021 Source:   sportingnews.com

Naomi Osaka reveals she will boycott media duties at French Open

  Naomi Osaka reveals she will boycott media duties at French Open The world No 2, who is a four-time major champion, posted a lengthy statement on Twitter explaining the pressures athletes come under when faced with questions from the press. As a result the 23-year-old, who has never gone further than the third round at Roland Garros, insists she will boycott press at the tournament, insisting the 'whole situation kicks a person while they are down' and she 'does not understand the reasoning behind it'.

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

Not long after Osaka announced that she would exit the French Open, Williams, coming off a first-round win at Roland Garros, said that she feels for Osaka and that she knows what it is like to face the media pressure, according to New York Times reporter Ben Rothenberg.

"The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi," Williams said. "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."

MORE: Barty overcomes big-hitting opponent, injury scare in French Open return

Naomi Osaka WITHDRAWS from French Open in wake of media boycott

  Naomi Osaka WITHDRAWS from French Open in wake of media boycott The world number two won her opening match against Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday but her decision not to take part in press conferences or interviews has been the biggest talking point.The 23-year-old world No 2 won her opening match against Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday but her decision not to take part in press conferences or interviews has overshadowed the start of the tournament at Roland Garros.

Osaka announced on Twitter on Monday that she would step out of this year's French Open and that she would "take some time away from the court."

In her post, she revealed that she has suffered "long bouts of depression" since the 2018 U.S. Open and that talking to the press after matches can bring "huge waves of anxiety."

Williams said that everyone deals with situations differently and that "you just have to let her handle it the way [Osaka] wants to, in the best way she thinks she can."

The legendary American later added when asked whether the WTA and Grand Slam Tournaments are doing enough to help players' mental health concerns that "you really have to step forward and make an effort, just as in anything."

"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 that's so important to have a sounding board, whether it's someone at the WTA or whether it's someone in your life. Maybe it's someone that you just talk to on a weekly basis," Williams said. "I've been in that position too. I've definitely had opportunities to talk to people, kind of get things off my chest that I can't necessarily talk to anyone in my family or anyone that I know.

How US Open 'scar tissue' weighed on Osaka

  How US Open 'scar tissue' weighed on Osaka The 2018 US Open saw Naomi Osaka suddenly thrust into the spotlight that she was ill-prepared to cope with.Osaka this morning made the bombshell announcement that she was withdrawing from Roland-Garros, revealing her ongoing struggles with depression.

"For me it's important to have awareness and make that step."

Osaka began the tournament by saying that she would not speak to the press as she felt people often had no regard for the mental health of athletes. In response, the heads of the four Grand Slam tournaments fined her $15,000 and noted that she could face a default in the French Open and face possible Grand Slam violations.

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

According to a report from Yahoo! Sports, French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton said during a news conference that Osaka's withdrawal from Roland-Garros was "unfortunate" and said the French Open wishes her "the best and quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi in 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.

He did not stay for questions from reporters.

Sponsorship masterstroke behind Osaka withdrawal .
A few years ago, a star athlete dropping out of a tournament over mental health might have been seen as a sign of weakness. Today, at least for Naomi Osaka's corporate sponsors, it is being hailed as refreshingly honest.That would explain why so many of them have stuck by Osaka after the four-time Grand Slam champion announced Monday that she was withdrawing from the French Open because she didn’t want to appear for the requisite news conferences that caused her “huge waves of anxiety.

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