Serena Williams wants the world to give Naomi Osaka a break, and this comes after the latter withdrew from the French Open after being fined $15,000 for boycotting media interviews.
Posting on her Twitter yesterday, Osaka noted that she has “suffered long bouts of depression” and will now “take some time away from the court”.
“The best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” the world number two wrote on Twitter, adding, “I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. The truth is I have suffered bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”
She added: “In Paris, I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences. I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite out-dated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.”
Showing her support for Osaka, Serena Williams spoke out during a post-match news conference on Monday. “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,” she said, according to the Associated Press.
Williams, 39, added that many of the press conferences have been “very difficult,” but they have “made me stronger.”
See Osaka’s full statement here.