When Naomi Osaka made the decision to drop out of the French Open on May 31, a contentious situation that had been brewing publicly for days became one of overwhelming love as many across the world voiced their support in defending her decision. One of the latest and biggest examples comes from the iconic entertainer Will Smith on social media.
After her decision, Smith wrote the Haitian and Japanese-American tennis star a touching and supporting letter stating,
“Hey Naomi, you are right. They are wrong! I am with you,” and posted it to his Instagram page along with a
Osaka had previously announced that she wouldn’t attend French Open press conferences because she felt that it placed
undue pressure on players. After her first-round win, the two-time U.S. Open winner missed a post-match press conference, citing her anxiety. The tournament organizers decided to fine her $15,000, and issued a statement on May 30 declaring that if she missed more mandatory press conferences, that she would be expelled from the tournament at Roland-Garros. That prompted her to drop out.
Dealing with the fury of the public at their actions, French Open officials claimed that they unsuccessfully tried to reach out to her before her decision to leave.
In her statement of withdrawal, the 23-year-old star took time out to thank all of her fans for the overwhelming love and support. In the statement, she revealed that she had been dealing with mental health struggles since 2018, when she won her first U.S. Open Championship against Serena Williams in a highly-charged final. She also stated, “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.”