Calm app will pay tennis players’ fines for skipping press in support of Naomi Osaka
This comes after Osaka stepped down from a tournament in order to protect her mental health
The professional Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka recently said that she would not be taking part in post-match press conferences during the French Open Roland-Garros tournament in Paris, explaining that she had made the decision to protect her mental health.
However, despite making reference to her mental health struggles, the four-time Grand Slam champion was fined for her decision.
This has sparked a much-needed discussion about professional athletes and their mental health.
Osaka said that expecting players to respond to questions after losing a match was like "kicking a person while they're down."
She continued: "I've often felt that people have no regard for athletes' mental health and this rings true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one."
Osaka then withdrew from the competition, citing her ongoing struggle with her mental health.
The Meditation app 'Calm' has shown a great deal of support for Osaka.
Calm announced on Wednesday that it had made a generous donation of $15,000 to French sports charity Laureus, adding that it will pay future fines of any Grand Slam players who make the decision to skip press conferences in order to protect their mental health.
Mental health is health. 🎾
To support Naomi Osaka’s decision to prioritize her mental health, Calm is donating $15,000 to @LaureusSport in France, an organization doing incredible work in the mental health space to transform the lives of young people through the power of sport. pic.twitter.com/C53ptXsks5
— Calm (@calm) June 2, 2021
Osaka has received an outpouring of support and kind messages following her decision to step down from the tournament, ranging from singers and actors, to fellow sporting stars.
For whatever it’s worth-I’m proud of Naomi Osaka for putting her mental health,her well being above everything.If we don’t take care of our health,our wellness- well then who will?What do we have if we don’t have our health? Don’t we know by now that success isn’t worth our life?
— P!nk (@Pink) June 3, 2021
Will Smith was pictured holding a sign containing a thoughtful message for Osaka.
Will Smith just posted a message of support for Naomi Osaka ❤ pic.twitter.com/U19nT25HM3
— The Female Lead (@the_female_lead) June 4, 2021
Lewis Hamilton also showed support for the tennis sensation.
Speaking ahead the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Hamilton said: "When I was young, I was thrown into the pit and I wasn't given any guidance or support.
"I think we need to be supporting more and I think it shouldn't be a case where you're pressured.
"For example, with Naomi's scenario, she didn't feel comfortable for her own personal health not to do something. And the backlash is ridiculous," he added.
"The way they reacted was not good with the fine and someone talking about their personal mental health and then being fined for it, that wasn't cool.
"I think they could have definitely handled it better, I'm sure. I hope they will take a deep dive into it and find a better way to navigate in the future."