No more Noami Osaka at Roland Garros. The number two in the world withdrew on Monday. The reason: mental problems. Serena Williams defended her colleague.
There has been a serious dispute between Osaka and the tournament organization in Paris in recent days, after the tennis star did not show up for press moments. The Japanese received a warning from the organizers on Sunday, after she had previously been fined more than 12,000 euros, that she would be excluded if she continued her press boycott. The Japanese said she did this to maintain her mental health.
“Since the US Open in 2018, I have struggled with depression for long periods. It was very difficult to deal with. I’ve seen plenty of videos of players collapsing in the press room after a defeat. I feel like the whole situation is going to kick someone who is already ‘down’ even further down, ”she wrote.
“I know what it is”
Serena Williams defeated Romanian Irina Begu in her opener in straight sets (7-6 (8/6) and 6-2). The match lasted 1 hour and 44 minutes. In the next round another Romanian opponent awaits with Mihaela Buzarnescu.
“I wish I could hug her now,” said Williams after hearing of Osaka’s decision after her first round victory at Roland Garros. “I know how she feels because I’ve been in the same situation too. We are all different personalities and everyone handles things differently. We have to let her deal with this as she pleases and as she thinks is best for her. That’s all I can say. ”
The American hopes that Osaka can find a sounding board. “You should actually be able to say for yourself: ‘I need help with A, B, C and D and I need to be able to talk to someone’, whether it’s someone from the players’ union WTA or someone else in your life. I was able to talk to someone at the time and I was able to vent. I could get rid of things I didn’t want to share with my family. ”
Osaka also received support through social media from legend Billie Jean King and Victoria Azarenka, among others: