On Monday (May 31), tennis champion Naomi Osaka announced she would be withdrawing from the French Open tournament, citing concerns for her mental health. Osaka, 23, is the second-highest ranking woman tennis player currently and recently announced her decision not to participate in press conferences during the tournament due to their impact on athletes’ mental health.
In response to her decision not to do press conferences and mental health concerns, leaders of the tennis competition put out a statement that said the tennis star would be fined and at risk of defaulting and “more substantial fines and future Grand Slams suspensions.”
“This isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago,” Osaka wrote in an Instagram post. “I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.”
Since announcing her withdrawal from the tournament, fellow tennis stars Serena Williams, along with Jada Pinkett Smith, have shown their support for Osaka. Nike, too, backed Osaka’s decision to leave the French Open.
“I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it’s like to be in those positions,” Williams said in a post-match interview.
To end her post, Osaka said she would be taking some time away from the court, but didn't say if she would be playing in the next biggest tournament, Wimbledon which starts shortly after the French Open ends.
"I'll see you when I see you," she said.
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