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Grand Slam Champions Commit To Addressing Naomi Osaka's Mental Health Concerns
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Grand Slam Champions Commit To Addressing Naomi Osaka's Mental Health Concerns


The heads of the four Grand Slam tournaments responded to tennis star Naomi Osaka's shocking withdrawal from the French Open on Tuesday by promising to address players' concerns about mental health.

The pledge was made in a statement signed by the same four tennis officials who threatened Osaka with disqualification or suspension on Sunday if she continued to miss news conferences.

The four-time major champion and world No. 2 was fined $15,000 for failing to speak to reporters following her first-round victory at Roland Garros on Sunday. The next day, Osaka withdrew from the tournament entirely, citing “huge waves of anxiety” before meeting with the media and revealing she has “suffered long bouts of depression.”

Osaka, a 23-year-old Japanese-born American who moved to the United States with her family when she was three, said she would "take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right, I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press, and fans."

Tennis players are required to attend press conferences if they are requested to do so; failure to do so can result in a $20,000 fine.

“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we want to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way we can while she is away from the court.

“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we want to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way we can while she is away from the court..She is an exceptional athlete, and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems it appropriate,” said officials in charge of the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open on Tuesday.

“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we want to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way we can while she is away from the court..She is an exceptional athlete, and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems it appropriate,” said officials in charge of the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open on Tuesday..a formalized paraphrase

“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we want to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way we can while she is away from the court..She is an exceptional athlete, and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems it appropriate,” said officials in charge of the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open on Tuesday..a formalized paraphrase.According to the British Open and the Australian Open

“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we want to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way we can while she is away from the court..She is an exceptional athlete, and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems it appropriate,” said officials in charge of the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open on Tuesday..a formalized paraphrase.According to the British Open and the Australian Open.“Mental health is a difficult issue that requires our undivided attention.”

“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we want to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way we can while she is away from the court..She is an exceptional athlete, and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems it appropriate,” said officials in charge of the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open on Tuesday..a formalized paraphrase.According to the British Open and the Australian Open.“Mental health is a difficult issue that requires our undivided attention.”.It is both complex and personal, because what affects one person may not affect another.

“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we want to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way we can while she is away from the court..She is an exceptional athlete, and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems it appropriate,” said officials in charge of the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open on Tuesday..a formalized paraphrase.According to the British Open and the Australian Open.“Mental health is a difficult issue that requires our undivided attention.”.It is both complex and personal, because what affects one person may not affect another..We applaud Naomi for expressing her feelings of pressure and anxiety in her own words, and we understand the unique pressures that tennis players may face.

“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we want to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way we can while she is away from the court..She is an exceptional athlete, and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems it appropriate,” said officials in charge of the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open on Tuesday..a formalized paraphrase.According to the British Open and the Australian Open.“Mental health is a difficult issue that requires our undivided attention.”.It is both complex and personal, because what affects one person may not affect another..We applaud Naomi for expressing her feelings of pressure and anxiety in her own words, and we understand the unique pressures that tennis players may face.."

Gilles Moretton, President of the French Tennis Federation, All England Club Chairman Ian Hewitt, President of the United States Tennis Association Mike McNulty, and President of Tennis Australia Jayne Hrdlicka all pledged to work with players, tours, and the media to “improve the player experience at our tournaments” while ensuring all athletes are on a “fair playing field, regardless of ranking or status.”

In a separate email to the AP on Tuesday, International Tennis Federation official Heather Bowler stated that the sport will “review what needs to evolve” after Osaka “shed light on mental health issues.”

“It is in all of our interests to continue to provide a respectful and qualitative environment that allows all stakeholders to do their jobs to the best of their ability, without compromising their health, and for the good of the sport,” Bowler wrote.

Several tennis players, including Serena Williams, expressed their support for Osaka and praised her for her forthrightness in her social media statement on Monday.

“It’s hard. Nobody really knows what anyone is going through, no matter how much they choose to show on the outside. I had no idea about her. But I respect her openness,” Ann Li, a 20-year-old American pro, said after winning her first-round match Tuesday at Roland Garros.

Gael Monfils, a 34-year-old Frenchman who won in Paris on Tuesday, said he could understand Osaka's concerns.

“It’s a very difficult situation for her. I feel for her because I have been struggling quite a bit as well,” Monfils said. “What she’s dealing with is even tough for me to judge, because I think she has massive pressure from many things. I think she’s quite young. She’s handling it quite well.

Then Monfils expressed a sentiment that is undoubtedly shared by many in the tennis community, from tournament and tour officials to athletes and fans.

“We need Naomi. We need her to be 100 percent,” Monfils said, “back on the court, back (at) the press conference — and back happy.”

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This story was contributed to by AP Sports Writer Sam Petrequin in Paris.

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