Naomi Osaka Receives Support From Grand Slam Officials After Withdrawing From French Open: We Commend And Empathize With Naomi + Athlete’s Sister Clears Up Misconceptions

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka Receives Support From Grand Slam Officials After Withdrawing From French Open: We Commend And Empathize With Naomi + Athlete’s Sister Clears Up Misconceptions

Naomi Osaka is receiving some major support for her decision to prioritize her mental health and wellbeing.

As previously reported, Naomi Osaka announced that she’d pass on giving any interviews or news conferences while at the French Open. In a statement posted to her Instagram, the athlete stated:

“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 sat there and asked questions that we’ve been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”

After standing by her decision to not speak to news media, the French Open fined her $15,000. Additionally, the Gland Slam tournaments (i.e. the four major tennis tournaments, which includes the French Open) issued a statement on the matter:

“We have advised Naomi Osaka that should she continue to ignore her media obligations during the tournament, she would be exposing herself to possible further Code of Conduct infringement consequences. As might be expected, repeat violations attract tougher sanctions including default from the tournament (Code of Conduct article III T.) and the trigger of a major offence investigation that could lead to more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions (Code of Conduct article IV A.3.).”

After the Grand Slam issued this statement, Naomi Osaka decided to withdraw from the French Open.

Now, however, it looks like the Grand Slam has gained a new perspective on the matter–because it’s now suddenly supporting Naomi Osaka‘s decision. In a statement issued yesterday (Tuesday, June 1st), the Grand Slam officials claimed:

“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we wish to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way possible as she takes time away from the court. She is an exceptional athlete and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems appropriate.”

Their statement continued:

“Mental health is a very challenging issue, which deserves our utmost attention. It is both complex and personal, as what affects one individual does not necessarily affect another. We commend Naomi for sharing in her own words the pressures and anxieties she is feeling and we empathize with the unique pressures tennis players may face.”

Various Grand Slam officials signed the statement: Gilles Moretton of the French Tennis Federation, Ian Hewitt of the All England Club, Mike McNulty of the U.S. Tennis Association, and Jayne Hrdlicka of Tennis Australia. Although it is unclear whether or not Naomi Osaka is still being fined, it looks like the Grand Slam tournaments have gone back on their earlier statement to express support for the tennis star.

In a similar fashion, Naomi Osaka‘s sister–Mari Osaka–cleared up a Reddit post she issued on the matter. Shortly before Naomi withdrew from the French Open, Mari Osaka alleged that Naomi was avoiding the media as a way to stay focused on winning. In a now-deleted Reddit post, Mari Osaka claimed:

“Naomi mentioned to me before the tournament that a family member had come up to her and remarked that she’s bad at clay. At every press conference she’s told [she] has a bad record on clay. When she lost in Rome she was not ok mentally. Her confidence was completely shattered and I think that everyone’s remarks and opinions have gotten to her head and she herself believed that she was bad on clay.”

She continued:

“This isn’t true and she knows that in order to do well and have a shot at winning Roland Garros she will have to believe that she can. That’s the first step any athlete needs to do, believe in themselves. So her solution was to block everything out. No talking to people who is going to put doubt in her mind. She’s protecting her mind hence why it’s called mental health. So many people are picky on this term thinking you need to have depression or have some sort of disorder to be able to use the term mental health.”

Naomi and Mari Osaka (left)

After deleting her post, she issued a new statement to clarify misconceptions regarding the matter. Mari Osaka wrote:

“Ok so I f***ed up. My words are coming across so horribly to a lot of people who think taking care of mental health is strategic. I didn’t [emphasize] the fact that Naomi is dealing with a tone of s**t and honestly fighting for the care of mental health is my post so now a lot of people are taking it as, ‘She doesn’t want to hear [critics]’ I’m sorry [Naomi] I probably made the situation worse.”

What do you think about the situation? Comment down below to let us know!

Authored by: Nick Alexander Fenley