Serena Williams: 'Naomi Osaka is doing the best she can'

·1-min read

Serena Williams has lent her support to Naomi Osaka after she sensationally quit the French Open due to a row over media obligations.

Osaka refused to take part in press conferences during the tournament because of the effect they have on her mental health - a decision which caused her to be fined and threatened with disqualification. The star then announced she was withdrawing from the tournament because she didn't want the controversy to distract from the competition on the court.

The move divided opinion in the tennis world, but veteran champ Serena told the Associated Press she knows where Naomi is coming from.

"I feel for Naomi," she said. "Not everyone is the same. 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. That's the only thing I can say: I think she is doing the best she can."

Serena added that while she herself has found post-match press conferences "very difficult" at times, she also credited them for making her "stronger".

Meanwhile, Martina Navratilova - herself an 18-time Grand Slam singles champion - voiced her support for Osaka on her Twitter page, writing: "I am so sad about Naomi Osaka. I truly hope she will be ok. As athletes we are taught to take care of our body, and perhaps the mental & 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!"

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