“That’s Crazy”: Hollywood Actor Voices Support for Naomi Osaka on French Open 2021 Withdrawal Row

Published 07/12/2021, 3:30 PM 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


Japanese World No. 2 Naomi Osaka ruffled many feathers with her withdrawal from the French Open 2021 and for prioritizing her mental health. Consequently, it has divided the world into two parts – one that justified the system, and the other side that sympathized with the player. Now, the Hollywood star Anthony Mackie has become the latest one to side with Osaka.

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For the 2021 year, actor Anthony Mackie, also known as the new Captain America, hosted the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPY) Awards. Moreover, during its opening monologue, he reflected upon the Osaka situation.

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The Japanese first decided to boycott the regulatory media duties at Roland-Garros. In return, she faced a lot of heat, which led to her opting-out from the tournament a day before her second-round match.

Read More: “Press Conference Format Itself is Out of Date”: Naomi Osaka Defends Media Boycott at French Open 2021

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

Anthony Mackie comes in support of Naomi Osaka on the French Open withdrawal row

To begin the show, Mackie started with jokes about the controversies that happened in the sports world. Naturally, he did not miss out on the dispute around the four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka. In fact, he tagged the whole situation as “crazy.”

“I don’t know how you punish Naomi Osaka for prioritizing her mental health. That’s crazy,” Mackie said

Tennis -WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 12, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka looks dejected after losing her second round match against Jessica Pegula of U.S. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

Furthermore, he used his on-screen superhero character as a punchline to relay the shortcomings of tennis executives.

“I’m no tennis exec, I don’t know, but if my sport had one of the most popular and marketable athletes on the planet, you know what I would do? I would probably make sure she felt comfortable and respected. But hey, what do I know, right? I’m just Captain America,” he joked.

Notably, Osaka has not returned to tennis since pulling out from Paris. But the good news is that she could return to the courts at the Tokyo Olympics event. No doubt, representing her country on her home turf will fill her with pride.

Also Read: Naomi Osaka Shares Her Priceless Moment on and off the Tennis Court

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Osaka’s incredible 2021 season so far

The 23-year-old Japanese began her year with a perfect start, winning her second Australian Open title. But since she missed out on the French Open, and then also opted out from Wimbledon Championships, the US Open remains her last Slam to try this year.

Hopefully, Osaka will return with a big bang on the WTA Tour and make the competition feel complete. Do you think she will successfully defend her US Open title this year?

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Watch this story: How Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, And Other Tennis Stars Travel

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Purav Joshi

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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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