Naomi Osaka’s announcement that she would not be competing in this year’s French Open is striking a chord with stars from the sports world and Hollywood, alike.
Osaka, who is the second-ranked female tennis player in the world, took to Twitter on Monday to share that she is withdrawing from the prestigious tournament for the sake of her mental health. She also shared that she struggles with depression and social anxiety. The news comes less than a week after Osaka’s controversial decision to not speak to media at the competition, citing the same reason.
The tennis champ has faced some backlash for the announcement, most notably from Piers Morgan, who accused Osaka of withdrawing, “because of the backlash to her attack on the tennis media for doing their job.” However, the response from athletes and other celebrities has been overwhelmingly positive.
Check out what some of Osaka’s famous supporters had to say.
Billie Jean King, widely considered one of the greatest tennis players of all time, applauded the 23-year-old’s bravery. She also asked that we respect Osaka’s privacy and wish her well.
Another female tennis legend, Martina Navratilova, sent her own well-wishes. She also noted, “As athletes we are taught to take care of our body, and perhaps the mental & emotional aspect gets short shrift. This is more than doing or not doing a press conference.”
Osaka also got major props from Steph Curry. The NBA superstar tweeted his admiration for her decision, “So damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own. Major respect.”
The NFL’s Russell Wilson and the NBA’s Ja Morant simply but sweetly stood in solidarity with Osaka.
Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Lisa Leslie expressed both her sadness and support regarding Osaka’s situation, “It’s so sad that we are in a time that when a young person tells you that they need help or a break, people respond with anger and lack of support! I stand with you @naomiosaka. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.”
Filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s advice to the tennis star is that she use this time out of the spotlight to take care of herself.
Actress Rosanna Arquette praised Osaka’s prioritization of her mental health while also reminding us what Naomi’s actual job is.
Activist David Hogg also tweeted a supportive message.
Even Candace Owens believes that Osaka made the right decision, writing, “Mental illness is serious and it is always an act of courage to step away to deal with personal issues. Emphasis on the word personal.”