'Give her a hug': Serena Williams' beautiful Naomi Osaka gesture

·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
Serena Williams (pictured right) hugs Naomi Osaka (pictured left) at the Australian Open.
Serena Williams (pictured right) said she wishes she could give Naomi Osaka (pictured left) a hug after her French Open withdrawal. (Getty Images)

Serena Williams has offered Naomi Osaka her support after the shocking revelation the World No.2 was withdrawing from the French Open.

Osaka shocked the tennis world after announcing just two days into Roland Garros she would be withdrawing from the tournament due to her mental health.

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Osaka won her opening match against Patricia Maria Tig on Sunday, but her decision not to take part in press conferences or interviews has been the biggest talking point of the tournament.

The Grand Slams Board reacted strongly to Osaka's move, releasing a joint statement on Sunday that, along with a fine of $15,000, threatened her with potential disqualification and a ban from future tournaments should she not reconsider.

After her announcement on Monday, Osaka opened up about her battle with depression in the process.

Osaka received widespread support and adulation for her brave call to withdraw from the tournament.

One of those supporters was 23-time Grand Slam champ Williams.

Williams turned pro in 1995 and is searching for her record breaking 24th Grand Slam title to tie with Margaret Court.

But Williams, who is one of the reasons Osaka and her older sister started playing tennis, offered the World No.2 her support during these difficult times.

"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," she said.

Serena Williams (pictured right) and Naomi Osaka (pictured left) pose for pictures before their women's singles match at the 'A Day at the Drive' exhibition tennis tournament in Adelaide.
Serena Williams (pictured right) and Naomi Osaka (pictured left) pose for pictures before their women's singles match at the 'A Day at the Drive' exhibition tennis tournament in Adelaide. (Photo by BRENTON EDWARDS/AFP via Getty Images)

"Like I said, I've been in those positions.

"We have different personalities, and people are different. Not everyone is the same. I'm thick. Other people are thick. Everyone is different and everyone handles things differently.

"You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to, in the best way she thinks she can, and that's the only thing I can say. I think she's doing the best she can."

Osaka's admission about Serena moment

In announcing her shock withdrawal, Osaka revealed how she has suffered with bouts of depression dating back to when she won the 2018 US Open final.

Tellingly, Osaka also revealed how the controversy surrounding her maiden grand slam triumph at the US Open in 2018 is still affecting her mental health.

Osaka lifted the trophy to a chorus of boos from fans who were furious that Williams had copped three code violations in the final - a match that is more remembered for Williams' battle with chair umpire Carlos Ramos than Osaka's incredible win.

Osaka said she had suffered bouts of depression since winning that first grand slam title and that talking to the media triggered her anxiety.

Readers seeking support and information can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

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