Nairobi News

Sports

WHO boss backs Osaka’s mental health campaign

World Health Organization (WHO) boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has publicly supported tennis star Naomi Osaka’s move to withdraw from the French Open.

Via post on Twitter, Tedros also congratulated the 23-year-old for speaking about mental health.

“I congratulate Naomi Osaka for having the courage to speak out about her #mentalhealth – and at a time when the world was watching. Mental health is essential to our overall well-being, and we all have a responsibility to protect that in whatever way works for us,” he tweeted.

Osaka’s decision to pull out of the competition came after the tournament, also called Roland Garros, fined her $15,000(1.6 million) for not speaking to the media following her first-round match on Sunday.

The four-time major champion citing mental health reasons announced on Twitter last Wednesday that she would not participate in any news conferences at the tournament.

She then pulled out of the tournament a day after the four Grand Slam tournament organizers threatened to expel her for not talking to the media.

“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. I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept my timing was not ideal, and my message could have been clearer,” she said.

Osaka had earlier explained she had been battling mental health issues.