Naomi Osaka withdraws from French Open to focus on ‘wellbeing’ as fellow tennis stars show overwhelming support

Naomi Osaka is supported by her fellow tennis stars as she announces her withdrawal from the French Open

Naomi Osaka
(Image credit: TPN / Contributor/ Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka has announced her withdrawal from the French Open due to her mental health and has received overwhelming support from fellow tennis stars. 

Naomi Osaka took to Twitter to reveal that she will no longer be competing in the French Open. She stated, “This isn't a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my wellbeing is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.”

The star revealed that the tournament caused her to suffer mentally and she had suffered from depression for a while. She said in her statement, “The truth is I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”

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Naomi Osaka decided to pull out of this tournament just a few days after revealing that she felt uncomfortable answering questions with the press following her matches. 

She said in a statement, “I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes’ mental health, and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one. We’re often asked questions that bring doubt into our minds, and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”

Following this announcement she was heavily criticized by the press and the organizers of the tournament who dock players' earnings when they refuse to speak to the press. One journalist for the Telegraph said following her refusal to speak to the press, “her actions represent less a mental health crusade than diva-esque behavior at its worst.”

Just a few days following her announcement about speaking to the press, she has withdrawn from the tournament. Following her withdrawal, she has been flooded with support from fellow sporting legends who have all applauded her honesty and bravery. 

In a post-match interview, the Associated Press reported that Serena Williams supported Naomi’s decision. She said, "I feel for Naomi. Not everyone is the same. I'm thick. Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to and the best way she thinks she can. That's the only thing I can say: I think she is doing the best she can."

Martina Navratilova took to social media to state, “I am so sad about Naomi Osaka. I truly hope she will be ok. As athletes, we are taught to take care of our body, and perhaps the mental & emotional aspect gets short shrift. This is about more than doing or not doing a press conference. Good luck Naomi- we are all pulling for you!”

Tennis legend Billie Jean King also stated on Twitter, "It’s incredibly brave that Naomi Osaka has revealed her truth about her struggle with depression. Right now, the important thing is that we give her the space and time she needs. We wish her well."

Tennis player, Coco Gauff, also wrote on Twitter, “stay strong. I admire your vulnerability.” Basketballer Steph Curry also said on Twitter, “You shouldn’t ever have to make a decision like this-but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own. major respect.”

The French Open will continue and conclude officially on Sunday 13th June 2021.

Laura Harman

Laura is the Entertainment Editor for woman&home who primarily covers television, film, and celebrity news. Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.