Serena Williams had a lot to say about Naomi Osaka withdrawing from the French Open this week. The tennis superstar spoke to reporters after Osaka's announcement and said she could relate to what she's going through. Osaka revealed she was boycotting the media during her time at the French Open to focus on her mental health, which led to her being fined $15,000.
"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," Williams said after winning her first-round match at the French Open per the New York Post. "Not everyone is the same. We have different personalities. 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 and the best way she thinks she can. "That's the only thing I can say: I think she is doing the best she can."
'I wish I could give her a hug, - Williams on Osaka's withdrawal.
Serena Williams said on Monday that she believes Naomi Osaka is 'doing the best she can,' following the second seeds withdrawal from the French Open after deciding not to speak to the media during the tournament. pic.twitter.com/HJhFkgTV3k— Dylan Zhao (@CGTNDylanZhao) June 1, 2021
Williams and Osaka and have their share of battles on the tennis court, specifically the 2018 US Open final. Osaka won the match, but William's outburst at referee Carlos Ramos over a coaching violation gained headlines. The crowd began to jeer at the situation, leading to Osaka becoming very emotional. That incident is something Osaka mentioned in her statement of leaving the French Open.
"The truth is that I have suffered from long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that," Osaka said. "Anyone knows that I'm introverted, and anyone that has seen me at tournaments will notice that I'm often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety."
Williams went on to reveal how she dealt with similar situations during her long and storied career. She said, per the Associated Press: "You really have to step forward and make an effort, just as in anything, and say, 'I need help with A, B, C and D,' and talk to someone. I think that's so important to have a sounding board, whether it's someone at the WTA, or someone in your life, or maybe it's someone you talk to on a weekly basis."