“So Damn Impressive”: Steph Curry, Venus Williams, Usain Bolt and Others Back Naomi Osaka Over French Open Fiasco

Published 06/01/2021, 1:47 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021 Picture taken May 30, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts during her first round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


After the backlash that she got following her stance against mandatory press conferences, Japanese World No. 2 Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the French Open 2021. This is inarguably one of the saddest moments in recent tennis history.

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The four-time Grand Slam champion announced her decision on Twitter, citing mental health issues. She also explained her situation extensively and expressed that she never wanted to be a distraction.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

“I think now 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. I never wanted to be a distraction,” Naomi wrote.

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Naturally, the decision affected everyone direly in the sports fraternity, and many tennis players and other sports athletes came out in support of Osaka’s decision.

Read More: “Wish I Could Give Her a Hug”: Serena Williams Sympathizes With Naomi Osaka’s Trauma at French Open 2021

Curry, Venus, Gauff, and others send love to Naomi Osaka

Remarkably, the 23-year-old Osaka has become one of the most influential global sports icons. Therefore, such a drastic decision from her has stunned the entire world.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts during her first round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Even Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry reacted to her decision. Although he regretted that Osaka had to make such a decision, Curry held her in the highest regard because of her courage.

Steph tweeted, “You shouldn’t ever have to make a decision like this-but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own. Major respect.”

Another NBA star, Ja Morant of Memphis Grizzlies, wrote, “We with you, Naomi Osaka.”

On the Japanese player’s Instagram post, many tennis players and her boyfriend showed their support. The list even included the seven-time Grand Slam champion, Venus Williams. Venus commented, “So proud of you. Take care of yourself and see you back winning soon!” 

Furthermore, the American singer and Osaka’s boyfriend Cordae wrote, “No need to apologize to ANYBODY!”

The list of athletes in support of Osaka also included the young star Coco Gauff, who has carried a special bond with Osaka since the US Open 2019. On Osaka’s Instagram post, the 17-year-old wrote, “Stay strong.” 

Another American and 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens also backed the Japanese professional. She said, “We’re behind you babygirl, take the time you need!”

Watch this story: CHAMPIONS!: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams And Others’ Trophy Lift at French Open

Bolt, Mardy Fish, and others back Osaka’s decision

The Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt also expressed his support for Osaka. He posted three praying emoticons on her Instagram post.

Also, the former tennis player Mardy Fish provided a brief message on the significance of acknowledging mental health. For the same reason, he acclaimed Osaka for her decision.

“Mental Health is nothing to criticize. Nothing to joke about. Please, take your mental health seriously. Without my support system, I truly believe I would not be here today. Here for you, Naomi Osaka,” the American wrote.

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For now, tennis fans will only hope that she returns to her happy place on tennis courts soon and keeps inspiring the world with her work. Above all, Osaka is an undisputed talent of sheer determination, courage, and class and will leave a void behind her until she comes back.

Like her idol, Kobe Bryant, once said, “Everything negative – pressure, challenges – are all an opportunity for me to rise.” Hopefully, she will find the same Mamba Mentality in the future.

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Also Read: “Absolutely Devastating”: Fans React as Naomi Osaka Pulls Out From French Open Following Press Conference Controversy

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Purav Joshi

826 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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