Grand Slam leaders to address Osaka’s concerns


The leaders of the 4 Grand Slam tennis tournaments reacted Tuesday to Naomi Osaka’s gorgeous withdrawal from the French Open by promising to handle gamers’ considerations about psychological well being.

The pledge got here in an announcement signed by the identical 4 directors who threatened the potential for disqualification or suspension for Osaka on Sunday if she continued to skip information conferences.

The four-time main champion and No. 2-ranked participant was fined $15,000 when she did not communicate to reporters after her first-round victory at Roland Garros on Sunday. The following day, Osaka pulled out of the match solely, saying on social media that she experiences “enormous waves of hysteria” earlier than assembly with the media and revealing she has “suffered lengthy bouts of melancholy.”

Osaka, a 23-year-old who was born in Japan and moved along with her household to the U.S. at age 3, mentioned she would “take a while away from the court docket now, however when the time is true I actually need to work with the Tour to debate methods we are able to make issues higher for the gamers, press and followers.”

Tennis gamers are required to attend information conferences if requested to take action; Grand Slam guidelines enable for fines as much as $20,000 if they do not present up.

“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we want to supply Naomi Osaka our help and help in any approach attainable as she takes time away from the court docket. She is an distinctive athlete and we sit up for her return as quickly as she deems acceptable,” Tuesday’s assertion from these in command of the French Open, Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open mentioned. “Psychological well being is a really difficult challenge, which deserves our utmost consideration. It’s each advanced and private, as what impacts one particular person doesn’t essentially have an effect on one other. We commend Naomi for sharing in her personal phrases the pressures and anxieties she is feeling and we empathize with the distinctive pressures tennis gamers could face.”

French tennis federation president Gilles Moretton, All England Membership chairman Ian Hewitt, U.S. Tennis Affiliation president Mike McNulty and Tennis Australia president Jayne Hrdlicka pledged to work with gamers, the excursions and media “to enhance the participant expertise at our tournaments” whereas ensuring the athletes all are on a “truthful enjoying subject, no matter rating or standing.”

In a separate assertion issued Tuesday to the AP through electronic mail, Worldwide Tennis Federation official Heather Bowler mentioned the game will “overview what must evolve” after Osaka “shone a lightweight on psychological well being points.”

“It is in all our pursuits to make sure that we proceed to supply a respectful and qualitative surroundings that allows all stakeholders to do their job to their greatest capability, with out impacting their well being, and for the nice of the game,” Bowler wrote.

Numerous gamers, together with Serena Williams, supplied help for Osaka and praised her for being forthcoming in her assertion on social media Monday.

“It is arduous. No one actually is aware of what anybody goes via, regardless of how a lot they select to point out on the skin. I had no thought about her. However I respect her openness,” 20-year-old American Ann Li mentioned after profitable her first-round match Tuesday at Roland Garros. “Our technology is turning into extra open and open, which could be a good factor and likewise a nasty factor typically. I hope she’s doing OK.”

On Tuesday, when requested how she dealt with media consideration and duties throughout her profession, Venus Williams mentioned every particular person is totally different.

“For me, personally, how I take care of it was that I do know each single particular person asking me a query cannot play in addition to I can and by no means will, so it doesn’t matter what you say or what you write, you will by no means gentle a candle to me,” Williams mentioned. “In order that’s how I take care of it. However every particular person offers with it in another way.”

Gael Monfils, 34, who additionally received Tuesday in Paris, mentioned he may relate to Osaka’s considerations to an extent.

“It is a very powerful state of affairs for her. I really feel for her, as a result of I’ve been struggling quite a bit as effectively,” mentioned Monfils, of France. “What she’s dealing is even powerful for me to even decide, as a result of I feel she has large stress from many issues. I feel she’s fairly younger. She’s dealing with it fairly effectively. Someday we wish possibly an excessive amount of from her … so someday, for certain, she goes to do some mistake.”

After which Monfils supplied a sentiment absolutely shared by many round tennis, from match and tour officers to athletes to the game’s followers.

“We want Naomi. We want her undoubtedly to be one hundred pc,” Monfils mentioned. “We want her again on the court docket, again [at] the press convention — and again completely satisfied.”

The Girls’s Tennis Affiliation informed ESPN it couldn’t touch upon a selected participant however said that it “has supplied employees devoted to the psychological well being of WTA athletes for greater than 20 years,” together with a psychological well being care supplier, in particular person, at tournaments, and telehealth periods between tournaments upon request.

The WTA mentioned it additionally supplies sources and help throughout 4 main areas of want, together with “1) Psychological Well being Session, Help and Referrals; 2) Psychological Efficiency Expertise; 3) Tour Life Expertise Growth and Methods; and 4) Important Incident Administration/Safeguarding Help.”

Data from The Related Press was used on this report.


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