Meditation app Calm says it will pay fines for tennis players who skip Grand Slam press appearances like Naomi Osaka
- Meditation app Calm said it will pay fines for tennis players who skip Grand Slam press events.
- On Monday, Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open to prioritize her mental well-being.
- She was fined $15,000 for skipping a post-match press conference and later dropped out of the tournament.
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Tennis player Naomi Osaka caused a stir at the French Open after skipping a press conference and withdrawing from the tournament to prioritize her mental health, igniting a conversation about the intense pressure on professional athletes.
Meditation app Calm is standing with her and other tennis players who may be looking to do the same.
On Wednesday, the company said that it had donated $15,000 to French youth sports charity Laureus and that it will pay the fine of any Grand Slam tennis player who decides to opt-out of a media appearance due to their mental health. It will also match the $15,000 with a donation to Laureus.
-Calm (@calm) June 2, 2021
Osaka, the second-ranked female tennis player in the world, was slapped with a $15,000 fine and threatened with disqualification after she skipped a post-game press conference following her first-round win at the French Open.
In a Monday statement, she explained that she has suffered from depression and decided to skip the press event “to exercise self-care.” She also announced her withdrawal from the competition to prioritize her well-being.
Osaka’s exit has sparked renewed conversation around the mental health of professional athletes. Amid a backlash from some fans and some in the media, there has also been an outpouring of support for the tennis phenom from across the sports landscape.
Olympian Michael Phelps praised Osaka for showing her vulnerability and said he was “saddened” by the backlash she has received during a Thursday appearance on CNN. Phelps has previously appeared in advertisements for Talkspace, an app that connects users with therapists.
“Mental health is not a joke, this is real and serious. This takes a lot of courage to do. Let’s all make sure Naomi knows she’s not alone,” Formula One racing champion Lewis Hamilton said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.
The leaders of all four tennis Grand Slams – The US Open, Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon – said Tuesday that they would attempt to address players’ concerns about mental well-being during competition. Wimbledon and the US Open are scheduled for later this summer.