Relaxation app Calm promises to cover fines given to tennis stars who reject media because of mental health

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Sleep relaxation app Calm promises to pay fines handed out to tennis stars who choose not to participate in press conferences due to mental health after Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from French Open this week

  • Naomi Osaka quit Roland Garros after choosing not to perform media duties
  • The world’s No. 2 was fined £10,600 for her media blackout this week
  • The Japanese tennis star revealed that she suffered from mental health problems
  • Sleep app ‘Calm’ covers fines handed out to tennis stars who reject the media

A relaxation app has offered to cover fines handed out to Naomi Osaka and other tennis players who withdraw from Grand Slam media interviews due to mental health.

World No. 2 Osaka withdrew from the French Open after being fined £10,600 for failing to appear before the press after his first round win at Roland Garros.

And the sleep relaxation app Calm has announced that it will not only cover the player’s fine, but will also make a donation of the same amount to the global sports organization Laureus Sport.

A relaxation app has offered to cover fines handed out to players, such as Naomi Osaka, who chose not to take Grand Slam media interviews due to mental health issues

A relaxation app has offered to cover fines handed out to players, such as Naomi Osaka, who chose not to take Grand Slam media interviews due to mental health issues

Calm Says They Will Pay Osaka Fine For Leaving Roland Garros Earlier This Week

Calm Says They Will Pay Osaka Fine For Leaving Roland Garros Earlier This Week

Calm Says They Will Pay Osaka Fine For Leaving Roland Garros Earlier This Week

A statement from the relaxation group on social media read: “Calm will also pay the fine for players who opt out of 2021 Grand Slam media appearances for mental health reasons, and we will double the fine with a $15,000 donation to @LaureusSport .’

The Calm app produces meditation products such as guided meditations and sleep stories read by the likes of Stephen Fry, Kate Winslet, Harry Styles, Idris Elba and LeBron James.

As she withdrew from the Grand Slam tournament this week, Osaka announced she would be taking time off from court and revealed her experiences dealing with depression and social anxiety issues.

World No 2 Osaka withdrew from French Open after being fined £10,600

World No 2 Osaka withdrew from French Open after being fined £10,600

World No 2 Osaka withdrew from French Open after being fined £10,600

In a statement on her social media, she said: “I think it is now best for the tournament, the other players and my well-being that I withdraw so that everyone can focus on tennis in Paris again.

“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly, I would never downplay mental health or use the term lightly.

Osaka's Withdrawal Statement on Monday

Osaka's Withdrawal Statement on Monday

Osaka’s Withdrawal Statement on Monday

“The truth is that since the US Open in 2018 I’ve had long bouts of depression and I’ve had a really hard time with that. Anyone who knows me knows I’m an introvert, and anyone who’s seen me at the tournaments will notice that I often wear headphones, as it helps reduce my social anxiety.

“While the tennis press has always been nice to me (and I especially want to apologize to any cool journalists I may have offended), I’m not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before speaking to the global media.

“So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious, so I thought it was better to take care of myself and skip the press conferences. I announced it pre-emptively because I feel the rules are quite outdated in some areas and I wanted to emphasize that.

“I’m going to take some time off the pitch now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the tour to discuss how we can make things better for the players, press and fans.”

Since Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open, the Grand Slam tournaments have released a joint statement promising to “improve the player experience” at major tennis tournaments.

The Grand Slams have announced they want to 'improve the player experience' at tournaments

The Grand Slams have announced they want to 'improve the player experience' at tournaments

The Grand Slams have announced they want to ‘improve the player experience’ at tournaments

“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we want to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in every way possible as she takes the time not to go to court,” the statement read. “She is an exceptional athlete and we look forward to her return as soon as she sees fit.

“Mental health is a very challenging subject that deserves our utmost attention. It is both complex and personal, because what affects one person does not necessarily affect another.

“We commend Naomi for sharing in her own words the pressures and fears she feels and empathize with the unique pressures tennis players can face.

Osaka takes time away from court and may not appear at Wimbledon this year

Osaka takes time away from court and may not appear at Wimbledon this year

Osaka takes time away from court and may not appear at Wimbledon this year

“While the well-being of players has always been a priority at the grand slams, our intention, together with the WTA, the ATP and the ITF, is to promote mental health and well-being through further action.”

However, Osaka is reported to have to complete her media duties if she is to compete at Wimbledon later this year, and a decision on her participation will be made in the coming days.

The Japanese tennis player received support from men Novak Djokovic and Judy Murray after her decision to withdraw from Roland Garros.

However, tennis legend Boris Becker has claimed that Osaka’s tennis future is “in jeopardy” because she “cannot handle some of the work”.

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