- Tennis legend, Serena Williams has shared her heartfelt reaction to the news of Naomi Osaka's withdrawal from the French Open due to mental health concerns
- Williams surprisingly only learnt of Osaka's withdrawal from the tournament en route to a press conference minutes after winning her opening match
- Williams has sympathised with Osaka and added that we all have different ways of dealing with mental health concerns
Serena Williams has shared her touching reaction to the news of world #2 Naomi Osaka's withdrawal from the French Open.
The 39-year old tennis champ says she only learnt of Osaka's withdrawal after defeating Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets in the first-round match.
"Honestly I just found out before I walked into the press conference, so that's the extent of it right now for me," said Williams, who is pursuing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title in Paris.
Hounded for her opinion on Osaka's claim last week that post-match media conferences were damaging her mental wellbeing, Williams had this to say:
"The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi. I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it's like. I've been in those positions.
"We have different personalities, and people are different. Not everyone is the same. I'm thick. Other people are thin. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to, in the best way she thinks she can." she added.
Meanwhile, Briefly News previously reported that Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open tournament just after swearing to be unavailable for media interviews.
Osaka announced her decision on her social media pages and made the announcement that she would excuse herself from the tournament on Monday. The boycott comes on the back of a bitter fall-out from her decision to avoid all media activity at the Grand Slam event.
Osaka said on Twitter:
"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.
"I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. The truth is, I have suffered bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that."
Threats of disqualification
The world #2 was slapped with a fine of $15 000 on Sunday and threatened with disqualification after she refused to carry out a mandatory news conference following her first-round win.
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