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Nike stands by 'courageous' Osaka

June 02, 2021 14:53 IST
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Naomi Osaka received support from the likes of Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Billie-Jean King and Martina Navratilova after deciding to withdraw from the French Open due to mental health issues

IMAGE: Naomi Osaka received support from the likes of Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Billie-Jean King and Martina Navratilova after deciding to withdraw from the French Open due to mental health issues. Photograph: Mark Brown/Getty Images

Tennis star Naomi Osaka has found support from Nike (NKE) and other major sponsors after deciding to withdraw from the ongoing French Open.

The sports apparel giant -- who signed a sponsorship deal with Osaka in 2019 -- applauded the athlete in a statement on Monday for opening up about her struggle with depression.

"Our thoughts are with Naomi. We support her and recognise her courage in sharing her own mental health experience," Nike said as reported by CNN.

 

The four-times Grand Slam champion had last week signalled her intentions to skip her media duties to protect her mental well-being and she returned to Twitter on Monday to announce her withdrawal.

Osaka had pulled out of the French Open citing mental health and revealed that she suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018.

"The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that. Anyone that knows me knows I'm introverted, and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I'm often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety," Osaka said in a statement on Twitter.

French Tennis Federation President Gilles Moretton wished her the "quickest possible recovery" and said the French Open looks forward to have Osaka next year.

"First and foremost, we are sorry and sad for Naomi Osaka. The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland-Garros is unfortunate. We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our Tournament next year," said Moretton in a statement released by French Open.

"As all the Grand Slams, the WTA, the ATP, and the ITF, we remain very committed to all athletes' well-being and to continually improving every aspect of players' experience in our Tournament, including with the Media, like we have always strived to do," he added.

World number two Osaka was on Sunday was fined 15,000 dollars for skipping the press conference following her win in the first round in the ongoing French Open.

 

 

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Source: REUTERS
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