The sweet message comes days after the 23-year-old tennis champion decided not to participate in standard post-match news conferences for mental health reasons and therefore was fined $15,000 for not abiding by the media requirements. Further, Osaka released a statement Monday revealing that she would not continue to participate in the Open in order to take care of her mental health.
“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 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,” Osaka wrote in a message on social media. “I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept 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.”
In addition to Smith, a handful of other famous pals have also spoken out in support of Osaka, including actress Kerry Washington who wrote on Twitter, “It takes bravery and strength to put your mental health first. I applaud you, and stand by you.” Fellow tennis pros Serena and Venus Williams have also been vocal on the subject.