Osaka, 23, was fined $15,000 on the weekend for skipping a mandatory post-match press conference before quitting the tournament on Monday. Osaka revealed that she has suffered from long bouts of depression since 2018 along with “huge waves of anxiety” that can often be triggered by press questions.
Osaka’s decision has prompted a small amount of backlash, mostly from the likes of Piers Morgan, however, her fellow pros appear to be fully behind her, including seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams.
Speaking to the press after her first-round loss to Russia’s Ekaterina Alexandrova, Williams revealed that it can be hard for any player to talk to the press after a match. However, one journalist who asked how she has coped with press questions throughout her lengthy career prompted an answer that should end that that particular line of questioning once and for all.
The 40-year-old said: “For me personally how I deal with it was that I know that every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can and never will, So no matter what you say, or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me. That’s how I deal with it. But each person deals with it differently.”
Venus dropped the mic 👑
Venus Williams rips every critic over the past FOUR decades to shreds in 15 seconds. Put this in The Louvre! https://t.co/nlZMvHMqfb
— Madam Vice President Harris is THEE GOAT! (@Madam Vice President Harris is THEE GOAT!)
Williams’s sister, the great Serena Williams, expressed solidarity for Osaka’s situation and said that, although she personally didn’t mind press scrutiny, she recognised that it can be different for every player. The 39-year-old said: “I feel for Naomi. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick. Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently.”
In the wake of Osaka’s decision, the four major Grand Slam tournaments have offered their support to the star and pledged to address other athlete’s concerns over mental health issues.