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A vow to improve, but no apology to Osaka from Grand Slam organisers


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Organisers of tennis' four Grand Slams have offered support, but not apologised to, Naomi Osaka. 

The world no.2 withdrew from the French Open on Monday night, having been fined $15,000 and threatened with being expelled from Roland-Garros and other Grand Slams if she did not attend press conferences.

Ahead of the French Open, Osaka cited mental health concerns in saying press conferences should not be mandatory for players.

Following pressure from tournament organisers and her fellow pros, Osaka pulled out of Roland-Garros revealing her battle with depression since her US Open win of 2018.

"We commend Naomi for sharing in her own words the pressures and anxieties she is feeling and we empathise with the unique pressures tennis players may face," the chiefs of the four Grand Slams said in a new statement on Tuesday evening.

One of its co-signees - French Tennis Federation president Gilles Moretton - was pilloried on Monday as he addressed Osaka's withdrawal in a press conference, but refused to take questions himself.

Osaka described media commitments for players at Grand Slam events as "outdated", and the four major tournaments say they "will continue to improve the player experience at our tournaments, including as it relates to media".

They add, "We intend to work alongside the players, the tours, the media and the broader tennis community to create meaningful improvements.

As Grand Slams, we aim to create the stage for the players to achieve the highest accolades in our sport."

Grand Slam statement: 

On behalf of the Grand Slams, we wish to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way possible as she takes time away from the court. She is an exceptional athlete and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems appropriate.

Mental health is a very challenging issue, which deserves our utmost attention. It is both complex and personal, as what affects one individual does not necessarily affect another.

We commend Naomi for sharing in her own words the pressures and anxieties she is feeling and we empathise with the unique pressures tennis players may face.

While players' wellbeing has always been a priority to the Grand Slams, our intention, together with the WTA, the ATP and the ITF, is to advance mental health and wellbeing through further actions.

Together as a community we will continue to improve the player experience at our tournaments, including as it relates to media.

Change should come through the lens of maintaining a fair playing field, regardless of ranking or status.

Sport requires rules and regulations to ensure that no player has an unfair advantage over another.

We intend to work alongside the players, the tours, the media and the broader tennis community to create meaningful improvements.

As Grand Slams, we aim to create the stage for the players to achieve the highest accolades in our sport.

On behalf of: Jayne Hrdlicka, Tennis Australia Chair & President Gilles Moretton, FFT President Ian Hewitt, AELTC Chairman Mike McNulty, USIA Chairman of the Board & President

Opinion | Bullying of Osaka proves depression is seriously misunderstood


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Australian Open Depression French Open Grand Slams Mental Health Naomi Osaka Roland Garros US Open Wimbledon

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