As the news continues to buzz about Naomi Osaka’s decision to withdraw from the French Open on Monday (May 31), fans and athletes rallied behind the tennis star.
Before the French Open match, Naomi tweeted a message telling fans that she didn’t plan to do any press interviews to protect her mental health. The French Open fined the U.S. Open and Australian Open singles champion $15,000 for not adhering to their media interview requirements.
Osaka tweeted another message to fans explaining her decision to withdraw from the French Open.
“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,” she posted. “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 trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.”
Of course, the mixed opinions rang in — some supportive of Naomi and others no so much.
Someone tweeted, saying, “I don’t want to work tomorrow, but I’m not Naomi Osaka, so I’m gonna suck it up. I’m gonna leave that poor millionaire girl alone.”
But Black Twitter wasn’t having it. People came to Naomi’s defense. Bernice King tweeted, “This is why so many people suffer through mental health challenges in silence. Because other people choose not to understand and inhumanely infer or state that they need to ‘suck it up.’ Then there’s the fallacy that position and wealth deter mental health challenges.”
Athletes, including Serena Williams, spoke up for Osaka.
“I feel for Naomi. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick. Other people are thin,” Williams said about the incident, per the Associated Press. “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.”
Other athletes, including Stephen Curry, CoCo Gauff, Lisa Leslie, and more, showed their support for Osaka.