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

Published 05/31/2021, 10:21 PM EDT
Naomi Osaka of Japan cries after winning the Women’s Singles finals match alongside runner up Serena Williams of the United States on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)


The tennis world is in a state of shock as Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open 2021. Sorrowfully, the four-time Grand Slam champion underlined vulnerability and anxiety as the core reasons for her decision. 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams stood by the young star, revealing that she understood her emotions.

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Primarily, Osaka had boycotted the press conferences at Roland-Garros, stating that it brings undue pressure on the athlete’s mental health. In its repercussions, she faced heavy criticism, a $15000 fine and even a default threat.

Thus, she decided to take a step back so that everybody’s focus remains on the premier clay-court tournament. Has Serena faced a similar ordeal in her long-esteemed career?

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Naomi Osaka of Japan hugs Serena Williams of the United States after winning the Women’s Singles finals match on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Read More: “Feeling Vulnerable and Anxious”: Naomi Osaka Withdraws From French Open 2021 Citing Mental Health Issues

Serena Williams compares her personality with Naomi Osaka

The 39-year-old American Serena kicked off the first night session at Roland-Garros with flying colours. She defeated strong-willed Irina-Camelia Begu in straight sets.

Later, in the post-match press conference, an interviewer inquired if she felt super anxious and concerned coming into the press as Naomi described. Surprisingly, the tennis queen agreed.

“Yeah, a lot. You know that. Many, many of them. I’ve been where I’ve been very difficult to walk in those moments. But, you know, it made me stronger,” Serena said.

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 08: Serena Williams of the United States reacts during her Women’s Singles finals match against Naomi Osaka of Japan on Day Thirteen of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 8, 2018 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Furthermore, the question rushed in all the feelings Serena had felt in the past. Thus, she felt a sudden urge to embrace the 23-year-old Osaka.

“The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi. I feel like I wish I could give her hug because I know what it’s like. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions,” Serena added.

Additionally, she also highlighted that everyone is different, and everyone handles things differently. Hence, people should respect Osaka’s decision and let her find a way through.

“You just have to let her handle it in the way she wants to, in the best way she thinks she can, and that’s the only thing I can say. I think she’s doing the best that she can,” the American concluded.

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Watch this story: Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Venus Williams, and Others’ Altercation With Chair Umpire at French Open 2021

Inarguably, fans feel devastated as they looked forward to watching Osaka prosper at Roland-Garros 2021. Hopefully, this break will bring her clarity and guide her back sooner on the tennis courts again.

What are your thoughts on Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal?

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

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Purav Joshi

818 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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