Tennis: Golfer Wie West praises 'incredibly brave' Osaka

Michelle Wie West (left) and Naomi Osaka. Osaka had signalled her intentions to skip her media duties to protect her mental well-being. PHOTOS: AFP, NYTIMES

PARIS (REUTERS) - American golfer Michelle Wie West said tennis world No. 2 Naomi Osaka was "incredibly brave" to withdraw from the French Open in the wake of her decision to boycott post-match media duties.

Osaka announced her decision on Monday, a day after she was fined US$15,000 (S$19,800) for not attending a post-match media conference and threatened with expulsion after her first-round win.

The four-time Grand Slam champion had signalled her intentions to skip her media duties to protect her mental well-being and on Monday said she had suffered from depression and social anxiety.

"I thought what Naomi did this past week was incredibly brave," Wie West said on Tuesday (June 1). "I also understand that part of being an athlete is speaking to the media because that's how the tournaments get done, (it) is through the media coverage.

"Definitely as a player, it gets tough, especially after having a bad round. It's tough, especially when you're not doing well, or there's a lot more to life than your game."

Osaka has received support from her country Japan, her sponsors, leading sporting figures and tennis fans since she announced her decision.

The four Grand Slam tournaments released a statement on Tuesday commending Osaka for sharing her experience and promised to make things better for players.

Wie West, who won the 2014 US Women's Open, said there was a need for more conversations regarding the mental wellbeing of athletes.

"It is sometimes crippling at times, but I'm really proud of athletes taking charge of their mental health and making it a priority," she added.

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