Athletes support Naomi Osaka’s French Open withdrawal



Naomi Osaka received a message of support from a tennis legend after her withdrawal from the French Open.

Martina Navratilova, the 18-time singles Grand Slam winner, said she was “so sad about Naomi Osaka” after the 23-year-old made the stunning announcement Monday that she was withdrawing from the tournament amid controversy over her media boycott, citing depression and social anxiety.

“I truly hope she will be ok,” Navratilova wrote on Twitter. “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!”

Osaka cited mental health reasons last week when revealing she would not speak with the press, and on Monday she said she has battled depression and social anxiety.

Osaka did not fulfill her media obligations as promised on Sunday after defeating Patricia Maria Tig in the first round of the French Open. She was fined $15,000 as a result, and the French Open — along with the US Open, Wimbledon and Australian Open — escalated matters when the Grand Slams said Osaka could face further discipline for refusing to address the press, including being booted from the tournament.

Naomi Osaka withdraws French Open
Martina Navratilova, Naomi Osaka
Getty Images (2)

Other athletes, including NBA star Steph Curry, showed Osaka support Monday after her announcement.

“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 Warriors guard wrote on Twitter.

Another NBA star, Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, showed support for Osaka by tweeting, “we with you.”


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