Naomi Osaka's French Open withdrawal: Who's saying what

Here's how the sporting community has reacted to the announcement, in which Osaka revealed mental health struggles.

Naomi Osaka announced her decision in a Twitter post, saying she hopes the focus returns to the tournament now that she's pulled out.    -  GETTY IMAGES

Naomi Osaka stunned tennis on Monday when she withdrew from the French Open after refusing to hold press conferences during the tournament.

Here's how the sporting community has reacted to the announcement, in which Osaka said she has suffered from "bouts of depression" for nearly three years:

"The truth is I have suffered bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that."

-- Osaka says she has struggled since her maiden Grand Slam win.

 

"In Paris, I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences."

-- The world number two explained why she wanted to avoid the usual media obligations.

 

SERENA WILLIAMS (tennis player): The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi. I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it's like.

MARTINA NAVRATILOVA (former tennis player): 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!

BILLIE JEAN KING (former tennis player): 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.

 

FRENCH TENNIS FEDERATION PRESIDENT GILLES MORETTON:  We are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka that she has withdrawn from the tournament.

COCO GAUFF (tennis player): Stay strong. I admire your vulnerability.

 

SOFIA KENIN (tennis player): I respect her decision. I respect what she does. I can't really comment on that. I feel like everyone's dealing with their own stuff.

STEPHEN CURRY (player, Golden State Warriors): You shouldnt ever have to make a decison like this-but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be dont protect their own. major respect @naomiosaka.

 

VICTORIA AZARENKA (tennis player): The challenge today is to convince people of the value of truth, honesty, compassion and a concern for others.

 

MARDY FISH (former tennis player): Mental Health is nothing to criticize. Nothing to joke about. Pls take your mental health seriously. Without my support system, I truly believe I would not be here today. Here for you @naomiosaka.

Becker worried for Osaka's career following French Open withdrawal : I heard her first response a couple of days ago about this media boycott and that is something to be always taken seriously, especially from such a young woman.

CARLOS BRATHWAITE (West Indian Cricketer): Everyone talks about mental health after someone commits suicide but ridicules everyone who tries to protect their mental health. You are strong for standing up and speaking out and even giving up the game you love to protect your mental health. I salute you young queen.


STAN VAN GUNDY (head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans): Just a question for the tennis authorities - is it better for your sport to have Naomi Osaka playing and not speaking to the media or not playing at all?"

Mithali Raj: Haven't thought of forgoing press conferences as women's cricket needs media support Personally, I have not felt that I should forgo a press conference because women's cricket right now where it stands, it needs media support and it is important for players also to sort of try and help in the growth of the sport.

 

DINA ASHER-SMITH (sprinter): If someone is taking steps to protect their mental health people should listen and work together - not double-down and put her in this position. Athletes' mental health needs to be taken seriously + prioritised. We are people too. Bless her

KATARINA JOHNSON-THOMPSON (heptathlete): She's so brave to speak out and protect her well-being. Mental health, especially in sport is such a risky topic to be open about. Hopefully change will come off the back of her withdrawal and it will open up conversations around depression in sport to break down the stigma.

KATHY JOHNSON CLARKE (former gymnast): I'm sorry you had to make a choice between playing and protecting your mental health. As an Olympic athlete first and member of the media for many years I support your decision and will continue to remind myself "to do no harm" while keeping sports and life in proper perspective.

 

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