Serena Williams discusses naming her daughter
Williams, who claimed a straight-sets win over Irina-Camelia Begu at Roland Garros, was asked what she felt about the situation with Osaka, and her reply was full of sympathy and support for the Japanese starlet and four-time Grand Slam winner.
“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.
Sympathy: Serena Williams offered words of support for Naomi Osaka after her French Open withdrawal
“I’m thick. Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently.
“You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to, in the best way she thinks she can, and that’s the only thing I can say.
“I think she’s doing the best she can.”
Naomi Osaka sister explains reasons behind her French Open media snub
Osaka fined £12.9k as French Open threaten to kick star out
Naomi Osaka criticised over media blackout after French Open win
But after she backed up her pre-tournament stance of not attending the post-match press conference, the Roland Garros tournament organisers slapped her with a £12,900 fine.
The organisers even threatened the possibility of kicking her out of the tournament for her failure to comply with their media demands.
Instead of challenging the organisers again, Osaka instead took the decision out of their hands and announced her decision to withdraw.
“I think now 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.
“More importantly I would never trivialise mental health or use the term lightly.
“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.
“Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologize especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media.
“I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can.
“I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that.
“I wrote privately to the tournament apologising and saying that I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament as the slams are intense.
“I’m gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans.”
Prior to Osaka’s withdrawal, the French Open used its social media to overtly praise players for attending media conferences.
The now-deleted tweet showed pictures of Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori, Aryna Sabalenka and Coco Gauff engaging with the media along with the caption: “They understood the assignment.”
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed