Athletes rally around ‘brave’ Osaka after French Open withdrawal

Leading figures in tennis and sport have rallied to support Naomi Osaka after the women’s world number two withdrew from the French Open in a row about post-match media duties, saying she had been suffering from depression and anxiety.

One of the biggest names in the sport, Osaka stunned the tennis world when she pulled out of the Grand Slam after being fined and threatened with expulsion for refusing to show up at an obligatory news conference on Sunday.

The four-time Grand Slam champion had signalled her intentions to skip her media duties to protect her mental wellbeing on social media and returned to Twitter on Monday to announce her withdrawal.

“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my wellbeing is that I withdraw so that everyone can go back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” she wrote.

The four-time Grand Slam champion had signalled her intentions to skip her media duties to protect her mental wellbeing on social media and returned to Twitter on Monday to announce her withdrawal.

“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my wellbeing is that I withdraw so that everyone can go back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” she wrote.

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