US Open 2021 Comes up with New Initiatives For Tennis Players Following Naomi Osaka Leading Mental Health Movement

Published 08/25/2021, 1:40 PM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka after winning her semi final match against Serena Williams of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott


It’s been an eventful 2021 season for tennis fans all around. From entertainment to controversies, the game has constantly made headlines, with a particular few at the forefront of it. With surprise defeats, early exits, and a gist to make the world a better place, Naomi Osaka has been the star of the show. However, it was her decision to bring mental health conversation to the front that shed some much-needed attention on a topic gone rather undiscussed.

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Despite being in the form of her life, Naomi Osaka refused to put her mental well-being at stake. She withdrew from the French Open, citing mental health concerns. Notably, what was a personal step became a worldwide conversation, with many coming to her aid, and a few scrutinizing her.

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Regardless, as she prepares for the US Open, her decision then has now shown flourishing results yet again. Ahead of her return to New York, the USTA has announced its launch of new mental health initiatives.

A step for the future

Fans all across the globe anxiously wait for the New York-based tournament to serve the action it’s famous for. However, as its star-studded lineup prepares for their battles, the USTA plays its part, expressing its concern for their mental safety. Working in lieu with the ATP, the WTA, and the ITF, the tournament has announced its launch of more enhanced services, considering the mental-wellbeing of players.

Speaking of the same, Mike Dowse, CEO and Executive Director of USTA, said, “We recognize that ensuring the mental health of the players is an area that needed to be addressed, and we are taking formative steps to give athletes the necessary resources to compete at the highest level.” 

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – AUGUST 31: A general view of Arthur Ashe Stadium during the Women’s Singles third round match between Naomi Osaka of Japan and Cori Gauff of the United States on day six of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 31, 2019 in Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

“Our goal is to make mental health services as readily available to athletes as services for a sprained ankle — and with no stigma attached,” added Dr. Hainline, a member of ITF Sports Sciences and Medicine Commission. He further said, “We will provide an environment that fosters wellness while providing the necessary resources to readily allow mental health care seeking.” 

Watch this story: Tennis Rivals Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer’s Top Funny Moments

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Not in vain, Naomi Osaka

Naomi quit Roland Garros after a dispute with the tournament authorities and the media. Her step started a worldwide conversation about the mental health of players in the support. Despite harsh criticism, renowned entities from the sporting world came to her aid. Heavily backed, Naomi’s sacrifice has now flourished into a corrective measure for all.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Women’s Singles – Round 2 – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 26, 2021. Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates after winning her second round match against Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland REUTERS/Mike Segar

On the business end of things, Naomi hasn’t been in the best form recently. Ever since her return, she is yet to make a notable appearance. However, fans are expecting the defending champion to prove her money’s worth, and taste victory once again. She can take pride in knowing that her actions have made mental health support more accessible for athletes.

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Melroy Fernandes

280 articles

Melroy Joseph Fernandes is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. A Mass Media graduate, Melroy has been a content writer for the past 6 years, curating stories for several brands, starting from his own. At the age of 17, Melroy began his writing Journey with Team BIB, an event management company for everything Art and Entertainment.

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