MELBOURNE (Reuters) – American Amanda Anisimova praised “inspiring” Naomi Osaka for speaking out about mental health issues in sport, after she ousted the Japanese player from the Australian Open.
Osaka withdrew from the French Open last year after being fined and threatened with disqualification from the tournament for refusing to attend press conferences, which she said was the cause of the depression she had suffered for years.
Four-times major champion Osaka, who also withdrew from Wimbledon in 2021, was eliminated from the Australian Open on Thursday after losing 4-6 6-3 7-6(3) to Anisimova in the third round.
“She is a very inspiring person,” Anisimova told reporters. “What she’s done in the past two years has been amazing.
“I was very happy to meet her today. She expresses her feelings honestly. I know she had a very difficult year last year, so I sympathize with her.
“I myself have had a very difficult two years and I don’t mind posting things on social media and just trying to educate people who are also going through difficult experiences. I think it’s great to be connected with people who share the same ideas.”
The American player reached her highest position in the world rankings in 2019, when she ranked 21, but she has struggled in the last two years to fall to 60th place now.
Anisimova will play Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty in the fourth round.
(Prepared by Ashraf Hamed for the Arab Newsletter)
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