Naomi Osaka: Grand Slam wants “significant improvements” and “advance mental health”

All four Grand Slam tournaments say they want to “create significant improvements” in player support after Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from Roland Garros.

Osaka, 23 years old, out on monday – a day after the Slams threatened her with deportation for not speaking to the media.

The Australian Open, the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open have offered him their “support and assistance”.

“We commend Naomi for sharing in her own words the pressures and anxieties she feels,” they said.

“We understand the unique pressures tennis players can face.”

All four majors have been criticized for the way they handled the issue at Roland Garros.

Japanese world number two Osaka announced last week that she did not want to do interviews to “protect her sanity.”

Osaka won their opener against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig in straight sets on Sunday and was fined $ 15,000 (£ 10,570) for not making post-match media.

Later that day, a joint statement from the Grand Slam organizers said Osaka could be kicked out of the tournament if it continued to avoid them.

On Monday, Osaka withdrew from the French Open and, in the same statement, revealed that she has suffered from “bouts of depression” since winning her first major title at the 2018 US Open.

Osaka added that she was “going to take some time away from court now.”

“We want to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way we can as she walks away from the pitch,” said the Grand Slam.

“She is an exceptional athlete and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems it appropriate.”

The tone of their statement was markedly different from that on Sunday, which threatened “more substantial fines and future Grand Slam suspensions” if she continued to avoid the media.

“While the well-being of the players has always been a priority for the Grand Slam, our intention, along with the WTA, ATP and ITF, is to advance mental health and well-being through new actions. “, he added.

“Together, as a community, we will continue to improve the player experience at our tournaments, including the media.

“Change should come through the prism of maintaining a level playing field, regardless of rank or status. Sport requires rules and regulations to ensure that no player has an unfair advantage by compared to another.

“We intend to work alongside the players, circuits, media and the tennis community at large to create meaningful improvements.”

Players rally to support Osaka

Osaka’s withdrawal continued to be a major talking point on Matchday 3 at Roland Garros, with a number of his professional colleagues offering their support after their matches.

Coco Gauff, the US world number 25, said she hoped her friend could “get over this” and come back “better and stronger”.

“Mental health is a subject close to my heart and I feel sorry for it,” said Gauff, 17.

“I hope that as a tour we can find ways to help her and help players get through situations like her.

“The only thing I can do is reach out and be in solidarity.”

Frenchman Gaël Monfils has said he hopes Osaka will recover “quickly”, saying the sport needs her “back on the pitch, back in press conferences and back happily.”

“It’s a very difficult situation for her. I feel for her, because I have also struggled a lot,” added Monfils, who shared his own feelings during the pandemic.

“It’s a big time for everyone, even outside of tennis, which is what we’re going through right now.”

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams admitted speaking to the media was “certainly not easy for anyone to do.”

“For me personally, I know that every person who asks me a question can’t and never will perform as well as I do, so no matter what you say or write you will never light a candle for me. “said the 40-year-old American.

“That’s how I handle it. But each person handles it differently.”

Around BBC Footer - Sounds

Add a Comment