Sloane Stephens: “Naomi Osaka? It’s not wrong to get help”

Sloane Stephens will play the third round of Roland Garros 2021 against Czech Karolina Muchova. In a press conference, Sloane Stephens talked about what happened in Paris regarding Naomi Osaka’s decision to stop granting press conferences after the match.

Stephens said: “I think players’ mental health is not talked about enough, I support Naomi and I think her public release will also help others to talk about how they feel. The feelings are real and we are all human, so I hope you take it. all the time she needs.

I’ve read some nasty things about her, but there shouldn’t be room to kick someone who’s already on the ground. Especially if she’s a player we all appreciate a lot. In retrospect I should have asked to leaving the bubble and going home is something I will regret for the rest of my life, because I prioritized tennis over the things that were happening to me.

There is nothing wrong with being in therapy or have a pain counselor. Vika Azarenka? She showed everyone what she is still capable of last year at the US Open. In the second week of a Grand Slam you only find the best players and it is against them that you have to fight.”

We have to recall that Naomi Osaka withdrew from the Roland Garros 2021! The young star made it known through her social media. The Japanese tennis player greeted Paris after being fined for not attending the press conferences, and after a joint statement of the four seasonal Slams, which threatened further sanctions.

In the statement, the former world number one says he suffered from episodes of depression after winning her first Grand Slam. She wrote: “Hi everyone, this is not the situation I imagined or intended to create when I wrote a few days ago. Now I believe that the best thing for the tournament, for the other players and for my health is that I withdraws from the tournament so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis that is being played in Paris. I never wanted to be a distraction.

I admit that my timing was not ideal and that my message could have been clearer. Above all, not I never wanted to trivialize the topic of mental health or use this expression lightly. The truth is that I have suffered from long depressive episodes since the US Open 2018 and it has not been easy to live with. Everyone who knows me knows that I am introverted, and everyone who has seen me in tournaments has noticed that I often wear headphones because this helps me to alleviate social anxiety. The tennis press has always been nice to me (and I want to apologize especially to those good journalists I might have hurt), but it doesn’t come naturally to me to speak in public and the fact that I have to speak to the international media gives me a lot of anxiety. I get nervous and it’s stressful for me to always try to have these relationships and give you the best answer I can give you.

Here in Paris I felt very vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was best to preserve myself and skip the press conferences. I announced it in advance because it seems to me that the rules are quite obsolete and I wanted to emphasize it. I wrote privately to the tournament to apologize and to explain that I would be more than happy to talk to them after the tournament, as the Grand Slams are intense.

I will be away from the pitch for a while, but when the time comes I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, for the journalists and for the fans. Anyway, I hope you all are well and safe, I love you and we will see each other when we see each other.”