Golfer Wie West praises Osaka “insanely brave”

American golfer Michelle Wie West said world tennis number two Naomi Osaka was “incredibly courageous” to step down from Roland Garros following her decision to boycott post-match media duties.

Osaka announced her decision on Monday, a day after being fined $ 15,000 for failing to attend a post-match press conference and threatened with deportation after winning the first round. Read more

The four-time Grand Slam champion had signaled her intention to shirk her media duties to protect her mental well-being and said on Monday she suffered from depression and social anxiety.

“I thought what Naomi did last week was incredibly brave,” Wie West said on Tuesday. “I also understand that part of being an athlete is talking to the media because that’s how tournaments are played, (it is) through media coverage.

“Certainly as a player it gets tough, especially after a bad set. It’s tough, especially when you’re not doing well, or there’s a lot more to life than your game.”

Osaka has received support from her country, Japan, sponsors, sports figures and tennis fans since announcing her decision. Read more

All four Grand Slam tournaments issued a statement on Tuesday congratulating Osaka for sharing their experience and pledging to make things better for the players.

Wie West, who won the 2014 US Women’s Open, said more conversations about athlete mental well-being are needed.

“It can be crippling at times, but I’m really proud that athletes are taking charge of their mental health and making it a priority,” she added.

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