Players offer support after Naomi Osaka takes time away from tennis

Naomi Osaka has revealed that she's been struggling with bouts of depression and anxiety since the US Open in 2018 and will now be taking some time away from the game.

FILE: Naomi Osaka of Japan cries while being interviewed after her match against Coco Gauff of the US during their Round 3 women's Singles match at the 2019 US Open. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - Fellow tennis players continue to show support to Naomi Osaka after she withdrew from the French Open following her decision to boycott all media activity at the Grand Slam.

Osaka has also revealed that she's been struggling with bouts of depression and anxiety since the US Open in 2018 and will now be taking some time away from the game.

Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova showed their support for Osaka, saying that it showed the importance of mental health.

As for Serena Williams, she empathised with what Osaka had been forced to deal with in her career.

"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," said the 39-year-old, after her first-round 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 win over Irina-Camelia Begu in the first ever night match at Roland Garros.

"We have different personalities, and people are different. Not everyone is the same. 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.”

Osaka beat Williams at the US Open in 2018 – with many witnessing the work of the next tennis great.

However, "long bouts of depression" have brought things to a halt for now, with the tennis fraternity taking a long hard look at itself.

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