Naomi Osaka’s sponsors are standing by her.
Sports attire big Nike, which signed a sponsorship cope with Osaka in 2019, recommended the 23-year-old tennis star for opening up about her struggles with despair after she dropped out of the French Open.
“Our thoughts are with Naomi. We support her and recognize her courage in sharing her own mental health experience,” Nike mentioned in an announcement.
“Hey everyone, this isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the others players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” Osaka wrote Monday on Twitter. “I by no means needed to be a distraction and I settle for that my timing was not perfect and my message may have been clearer.
“More importantly I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”
Other sponsors of Osaka, the No. 2-ranked girls’s participant on this planet, adopted Nike’s lead.
“Naomi Osaka’s decision reminds us all how important it is to prioritize personal health and well-being,” Mastercard mentioned in an announcement. “We support her and admire her courage to address important issues, both on and off the court.”
Swiss luxurious watchmaker TAG Heuer mentioned that it helps its model ambassadors “in triumph but also during challenging periods,” based on CNN.
“Naomi is going through difficult times and we truly hope to see her back soon. She is a great champion and we are convinced that she will come out of this period stronger, be it professionally or personally,” the corporate informed the outlet in an announcement.
Nissin Foods, a Japanese firm recognized for its immediate noodles, Japanese automaker Nissan and Nippon Airways, a Tokyo-based airline, all additionally voiced help for Osaka’s determination, based on CNN.
Sweetgreen, the US restaurant chain, informed CNN, “Our partnership with Naomi is rooted in wellness in all its forms. We support her in furthering the conversation around mental health and are proud to have her as part of the sweetgreen team.”
Osaka is a model ambassador and investor of Sweetgreen.
Osaka’s determination to withdraw from the French Open has been each lauded and criticized. Tennis legend Martina Navratilova was amongst these to precise help for Osaka.
“I am so sad about Naomi Osaka. I truly hope she will be ok,” the nine-time Wimbledon champion tweeted. “As athletes we are taught to take care of our body, and perhaps the mental [and] emotional aspect gets short shrift. This is about more than doing or not doing a press conference. Good luck Naomi — we are all pulling for you!”
Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry additionally tweeted that Osaka “shouldn’t ever have to make a decision like this — but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own. Major respect.”
Serena Williams, who’s nonetheless competing within the French Open, has also come to Osaka’s support.
“The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi. I feel like I wish I could give her a hug because I know what it’s like. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions,” Williams mentioned after her first-round win over Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu.
“Not everyone is the same. We have different personalities. I’m thick. Other people are thin. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to and the best way she thinks she can,” the 23-time Grand Slam winner mentioned.
“That’s the only thing I can say: I think she is doing the best she can.”
Others, nonetheless, have said facing the media is part of an athlete’s job.
“I always believed that’s part of the job,” Tennis legend Boris Becker told Eurosport. “Without the media, there isn’t any prize money, there isn’t any contracts and just you don’t get half the cake.”