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French Open 2021: Tennis stars, others lend support to Naomi Osaka

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File photo of Naomi Osaka (left) with Serena Williams.

Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open on Monday and wrote on Twitter that she would be taking a break from competition, a dramatic turn of events for a four-time Grand Slam champion who said she experiences “huge waves of anxiety” before speaking to the media and revealed she has “suffered long bouts of depression.”

The pull-out came after her tussle with the French Open organisers, who handed her a hefty fine for missing a post-match press conference earlier after first round win. Following her decision, support followed her from former and current tennis stars including the likes of Serena Williams, Martina Navratilova among others.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena felt that Naomi doesn’t have a thick skin and have to let her handle things the way she can.

“I feel for Naomi. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick. Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to and the best way she thinks she can. That’s the only thing I can say: I think she is doing the best she can,” Serena Williams said.

18-time Grand Slam winner Navratilova felt Naomi’s fight is more than just doing or not doing a press conference.

“I am so sad about Naomi Osaka. I truly hope she will be ok. As athletes we are taught to take care of our body, and perhaps the mental & emotional aspect gets short shrift. This is about more than doing or not doing a press conference. Good luck Naomi- we are all pulling for you!” Martina Navratilova said.

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12-time Major winnner Billie Jean King felt it’s important to give her the space and time she needs.

“It’s incredibly brave that Naomi Osaka has revealed her truth about her struggle with depression. Right now, the important thing is that we give her space and time she needs. We wish her well,” Billie Jean King said.

NBA mega star Stephen Curry also voiced his support for Naomi saying that people at power don’t protect their own.

 

“You shouldnt ever have to make a decison like this-but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be dont protect their own. major respect,” the Warriors guard said.

(With inputs from AP).

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