Steph Curry lent his support to tennis star Naomi Osaka on Monday after she withdrew from the French Open citing mental health concerns.
Naomi Osaka revealed Monday that she decided to withdraw from the French Open amid controversy over her self-imposed media hiatus.
The 23-year-old Japanese tennis star had previously incurred fines from the tournament for refusing to take part in press conferences. A four-time Grand Slam singles champion, Osaka explained she feels anxious when having to speak to the press, and planned to skip the conferences to exercise self-care and focus on winning her matches.
All four major tennis tournaments issued a joint statement threatening to fine and suspend Osaka and any other athlete who declines their media obligations. The controversy overshadowed the on-court performances on day one of the tournament, resulting in Osaka’s withdrawal.
Many athletes and even journalists have voiced their support for Osaka, including Golden State Warriors superstar Steph Curry.
“You shouldn’t ever have to make a decision like this, but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own,” Curry said in a Tweet.
Curry has “major respect” for Osaka
Curry’s post applauds Osaka for keeping her head up while taking aim at the tournament organizers for doing little to help an athlete struggling with mental health, an issue that should be taken with the utmost seriousness.
Osaka said she hopes to work with the WTA Tour and the Grand Slam events to discuss ways to reform press conferences in ways that benefit players, fans and media alike.
If Osaka attacks mental health issues even half as well as she rips groundstrokes down the line, she will improve the lives of professional tennis players everywhere.
In 2020, Osaka earned more than $50 million in endorsement deals alone. At this point, Osaka doesn’t need tennis as much as the sport needs her, so we sure hope tournament organizers respect her wishes and mental health in the future.