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Will Smith Adds His Support for Naomi Osaka After Her Withdrawal From the French Open


After deciding not to compete in the French Open on Monday due to the toll its press conferences were taking on her mental health, Naomi Osaka has received an outpouring of support from celebrities and professional athletes alike.

Last Wednesday, the tennis star currently ranked second in the world announced she would no longer be taking part in the traditional post-game news conferences in order to better protect her mental health. In response, the French Open’s tournament referee fined her $15,000 and Grand Slam organizers threatened to expel her from the event if she didn’t participate in the interviews. So, instead, Osaka decided to simply pay the fine and take herself out of the competition completely, writing on Instagram on Monday, “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 that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer.”

Since making that tough decision, a number of stars have shown their enthusiastic support for the 23-year-old tennis player, including Will Smith who posted a picture of himself on Instagram on Thursday holding up a handwritten note that reads, “Hey Naomi, You are right. They are wrong! I am with you.” Viola Davis added on Twitter, “As one who also deals with social anxiety, I admire your courage and stand in solidarity with you, @naomiosaka,” and Dionne Warwickwrote, “I’m happy you realize your health and well being are your priority. Take care of YOU always! You are the only You that You have!” Even former Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton weighed in on Osaka’s decision, tweeting, “I’m inspired by @NaomiOsaka’s courage. This is a moment for all of us—especially the press—to ask why it’s not enough to let her stellar performance on the court speak for itself.”

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