On Tuesday (June 1), tennis officials promised to address athletes’ mental health concerns following champion Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open. The leaders of the French Open, Australian Open, US Open, and Wimbledon released a statement in support of Osaka after fining the 23-year-old $15,000 for not doing a press conference following her first round win.
“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we wish to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way possible as she takes time away from the court. She is an exceptional athlete and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems appropriate,” a statement from the tennis directors began.
“Mental health is a very challenging issue, which deserves our utmost attention. It is both complex and personal, as what affects one individual does not necessarily affect another,” the continued. “We commend Naomi for sharing in her own words the pressures and anxieties she is feeling and we empathize with the unique pressures tennis players may face.”
The tennis tournament leaders added that they would be taking action to address media, tournaments, and athletes “to advance mental health and wellbeing through further actions.”
In her announcement of leaving the tournament, Osaka described the pressure of doing press conferences following a match and that not attending them would be best for her. Athletes from the tennis community, including Serena Williams, Venus Williams, and Coco Gauff, and other celebs spoke out in support of Naomi and her decision.
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