Jun 1, 2021 - Sports

Grand Slam leaders pledge to address Naomi Osaka's concerns

Photo of Naomi Osaka holding her tennis racket on the court

Photo: TPN/Contributor via Getty Images

Leaders of the four Grand Slam tournaments on Tuesday pledged to address players' concerns about mental health after Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open.

Driving the news: Osaka, a four-time major champion and No. 2-ranked player, pulled out of the French Open on Monday amid controversy over her decision to not attend press conferences at the tournament. She wrote in a statement that she experiences "huge waves of anxiety" before meeting with reporters and has "suffered long bouts of depression."

  • "I'm gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans," she added.

What they're saying: "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," said Tuesday’s joint statement from leaders of the French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Australian Open.

  • "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," the statement added.
  • "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."
  • In a separate statement to the AP, International Tennis Federation official Heather Bowler said the sport will "review what needs to evolve" after Osaka "shone a light on mental health issues."

Between the lines: The same four administrators who threatened disqualification or suspension for Osaka all signed on to Tuesday's joint statement, per AP.

  • The 23-year-old player of Haitian and Japanese descent was fined $15,000 on Sunday after not attending a mandatory press conference.

Go deeper: What to know about Naomi Osaka's French Open withdrawal

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