Naomi Osaka: Stephen Curry, Michelle Obama, others reached out following withdrawal from French Open
Naomi Osaka has revealed that fellow sports superstars Novak Djokovic, Michael Phelps and Stephen Curry, as well as Former First Lady Michelle Obama, are among those that reached out to her following her withdrawal from the French Open. Osaka elected to withdraw from the Grand Slam earlier this summer in order to focus on her mental health.
In an essay published in Time Magazine — where she revealed that many athletes reached out to her — Osaka wrote that she hopes “we can enact measures to protect athletes, especially the fragile ones,” and added that athletes should be able to skip media appearances without punishment.
“There can be moments for any of us where we are dealing with issues behind the scenes,” Osaka said. “Each of us as humans is going through something on some level.”
Prior to the French Open, Osaka announced that she would be skipping post-match press conferences in order to protect her mental well-being. After her first-round match win over Patricia Maria Tig, she did just that and received a $15,000 fine for not participating in a mandatory post-match press conference.
That fine led to Osaka pulling out of the event altogether.
“Believe it or not, I am naturally introverted and do not court the spotlight,” Osaka wrote in Time Magazine. “I always try to push myself to speak up for what I believe to be right, but that often comes at a cost of great anxiety.”
Osaka has been away from the court since pulling out of the French Open, as she also elected to skip Wimbledon — which ends on Saturday.
The women’s tennis star will return at the Tokyo Olympics later in July, where she will represent Japan.