Sloane Stephens wants more discussions on mental health

Naomi Osaka put a renewed focus on mental health after pulling out of the French Open on Monday and Sloane Stephens wants more serious discussions on the topic.

“As competitors and colleagues, I think it’s important to support each other," Sloane Stephens said after progressing to the fourth round of the 2021 French Open.   -  Getty Images

Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens wants more discussions on mental health to help people both inside and outside of tennis to talk freely about what is troubling them.

“Absolutely, I feel like it’s not spoken about enough,” she told reporters on Saturday after winning her third-round match at the 2021 French Open.

“I think it’s definitely a top priority for everyone, not just tennis players but also the guys who are dealing with life in general."

Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka put a renewed focus on mental health when she pulled out of the French Open on Monday and cited difficulties in dealing with “huge waves of anxiety."

"Players may keep far too silent when what they really need is to feel they can open up to others," the 28-year-old Stephens said.

“I feel like a lot of players on our tour suffer in silence. I think that is not cool and not fair and we should definitely approach it differently,” she added.

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“The more support, the better. I think not only for us girls supporting each other but for the tour to be able to support us in different ways is super helpful.”

United States star Stephens, who won the US Open in 2017 and was runner-up at the French Open in 2018, feels rivals may really need each other to cope off court.

“As competitors and colleagues, I think it’s important to support each other just because, honestly, on the road every single week we’re really all we have,” she claimed.

“We’re the same faces that we see all the time. I think it’s super important to be able to support each other through, you know, the ups and downs, because obviously tennis is super emotional.”

Second-ranked Osaka's decision to withdraw from Roland Garros drew support for her courage in some quarters but also some hostility on social networks.

The multiplication of often explicit and offensive criticism on social networks has also made it too easy for people’s mental health to be impacted. “Obviously we live in a world where there is the Internet ... all these things that creep into your mind,” said Stephens.

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