How Serena Williams Feels About Naomi Osaka's French Open Exit

Serena Williams will always be one of the tennis greats. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that she also weighed in on Naomi Osaka withdrawing from the 2021 French Open, per People. The younger tennis star dropped the bombshell shortly after being fined $15,000 for refusing to do a press interview after her May 30 match. The tennis officials also issued a stern warning to Osaka, threatening her with possible "future Grand Slam suspensions." However, the four-time Major winner wasn't about to go down like that and stuck to her guns. 

Osaka spoke her mind in a heartfelt tweet that left the world shook, with many empathizing with the tennis star who shared that she had "suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018." Some may recall the upset, when she beat Williams in that final. She also underscored her mental health by adding, "anyone [who] has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I'm often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety." 

Osaka continued to explain why she initially decided to skip the press during the tournament. "I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly," she wrote in a follow-up tweet.  Osaka then dealt the final blow by saying, "the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris." Now, Williams has stepped forward to voice her opinion about Osaka leaving the competition.

Serena Williams talks out about her old rival

Serena Williams didn't mince her words when she spoke about Naomi Osaka's controversial decision to quit the French Open. At a post-match news conference, the tennis legend threw her weight behind the 23-year-old. After all, Williams and Osaka are bosom buddies, on and off-court. "I feel for Naomi. Not everyone is the same. I'm thick. Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently," she told reporters, per the Associated Press. Williams also advised, "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." Preach, Serena, preach it!

However, Williams has also shown her own vulnerability at times. In January, she broke down after losing to Osaka in the 2021 Australian Open, per the New York Post. At the press conference afterward, she was emotional as she maintained, "I could have won. I could have been up 5-love." Williams knows what she's talking about. She's had years of experience with the press, and not everyone can handle the public scrutiny. Even if some people are critical of Osaka, she clearly has one very powerful ally in her corner. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741, call the National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264), or visit the National Institute of Mental Health website.