Brooklyn Nets star guard Kyrie Irving has offered support to WTA star Naomi Osaka. Osaka, ranked at No. 2 in the world, pulled out of the French Open on Monday and revealed she has had battles with depression since 2018 US Open.
"We are all with you Queen. Just Be You, that will always be enough," Irving said. Osaka won her first round match at the French Open but refused to do a press conference afterward. “I think now 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," Osaka said.
"I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. "More importantly I would never trivialise mental health or use the term lightly. "The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that."
Grand Slams also offered support to Osaka "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.
"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. We commend Naomi for sharing in her own words the pressures and anxieties she is feeling and we empathise with the unique pressures tennis players may face.
While players’ wellbeing has always been a priority to the Grand Slams, our intention, together with the WTA, the ATP and the ITF, is to advance mental health and wellbeing through further actions. "Together as a community we will continue to improve the player experience at our tournaments, including as it relates to media.
Change should come through the lens of maintaining a fair playing field, regardless of ranking or status. Sport requires rules and regulations to ensure that no player has an unfair advantage over another. "We intend to work alongside the players, the tours, the media and the broader tennis community to create meaningful improvements. As Grand Slams, we aim to create the stage for the players to achieve the highest accolades in our sport."