The four-time Grand Slam champion stepped back from the tournament on Monday (31 May), saying that she felt the decision was “best thing for the tournament, the other players and my wellbeing”.
Just days before, Osaka had announced that she would be boycotting press conferences during the French Open for her mental health, which saw her issued a fine of $15,000 (£10,600) for “choosing not to honour her contractual media obligations”.
Many influential figures from the world of sport and beyond have supported the 23-year-old, with actor Smith sharing a photo of a handwritten note penned to her on his Instagram on Thursday (3 June) night.
“Hey Naomi,” Smith wrote. “You are right. They are wrong! I am with you.”
The message was signed by the actor with a heart, with Smith showing himself holding the note in a second picture.
His followers were in agreement, with one commenter writing: “That’s dope!” while another added: “Way to have Naomi’s back!”
On Thursday (3 June), Loose Women presenter Denise Welch spoke out in defence of Osaka as she slammed Piers Morgan for calling the tennis player “narcissistic” and a “spoiled brat”.
Accusing Morgan of stigmatising mental health problems, Welch wrote: “Piers also proves why so many people suffer in silence because of fear of being called ‘an arrogant narcissistic spoiled brat’. This man is a f.....g disgrace.”
If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, Samaritans offers support. You can speak to someone in confidence over the phone on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Samaritans website here.
If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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