Tennis star Naomi Osaka made global headlines on May 31 when she withdrew from the French Open, citing her mental health.
Osaka has been one of sports’ most exciting stars to watch, being the first woman to win two Grand Slam singles titles in a row since Serena Williams. And speaking of Williams, Osaka defeated The GOAT twice in 2018, causing an international frenzy.
All that to say, a lot of eyes have been on Osaka — who is the first Asian player to be ranked No.1 in world singles — which is why her recent vulnerability has been one of the biggest topics last week.
Worldwide support for Osaka began shortly after she posted a note on social media, explaining why she chose not to do press during the French Open.
In the post, she said players are asked the same questions and those questions trigger doubt in the athletes and their view of the performance. This is especially difficult after a loss and Osaka compares the feeling to “kicking a person while they’re down.”
She ended her message by saying “I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity.”
Damn. That’s a statement.
In a follow-up post five days later, Osaka addressed the sports world “controversy” she caused and shockingly withdrew from the French Open.
Like her previous post, this one was equally as vulnerable, with Osaka admitting she has been struggling with her mental health since the 2018 U.S. Open.
In tennis, players are fined $15,000 every time they miss a press conference. Osaka decided her mental health was more important than avoiding the fine, and she received an outpouring of support for her decision.
Colleague Williams had empathy for Osaka, saying “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. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions.”
Calm, a mental-health app, offered to pay her fines.
And Hollywood’s most beloved players is sending his love to Osaka.
Will Smith went out of his way to write a note for Osaka and post it on his Instagram account.
The note says:
You are right.
They are wrong!
I am with you.”
Simple, yet powerful.
Using Instagram’s carousel feature, Smith posted another photo, this time of him holding up the note.
Think about it. Osaka now has the Fresh Prince on her side, messin’ up the French Open Big Willie Style.
Lead image: Will Smith/Instagram