Nike Shows Support for Naomi Osaka After She Pulls Out for Mental Health Reasons

Sep 12, 2020; Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts winning the third set and match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the women’s singles final match on day 13 of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Nike is standing behind Naomi Osaka.

The sportswear giant, which sponsors the tennis star, 23, reacted in a statement to Osaka’s decision to withdraw from the 2021 French Open after being fined for not participating in post-match interviews during the Grand Slam tournament.

Nike told PEOPLE, “Our thoughts are with Naomi. We support her and recognize her courage in sharing her own mental health experience.”

Ahead of the tennis tournament’s start, Osaka announced she wouldn’t be doing press during the championship in an effort to preserve her mental health. On Sunday, Osaka picked up her first win and a $15,000 fine for not participating in media requirements.

In her Monday statement, Osaka said that she felt “the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris. I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly.”

Osaka said that she has suffered from depression since 2018, and has had a “really hard time coping with that.”

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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Lindsay Kimble

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