Naomi Osaka has the support of one of the biggest actors in the world!
On Thursday, June 3, Will Smith shared a handwritten note to social media announcing that Naomi is “right” and her critics are “wrong.” The 52-year-old actor personally wrote his message in a book with a black sharpie and posted a picture of it. It seems like an old person thing to do, but then again, he has 53.8 million followers on IG, so he must be doing something right.
“Hey Naomi, You are Right. They are Wrong! I am with You,” he wrote before signing it.
Osaka shocked the tennis world when she withdrew from the French Open to avoid her media duties. The 23-year-old was fined $15K for ditching a mandatory press conference. Her withdrawal sent the sports world into a tizzy as fans and athletes supported/condemned Osaka’s actions.
Smith joins notable names like Serena and Venus Williams, Usain Bolt, and Kyrie Irving on Team Naomi, but some share the opinion of Piers Morgan, who called her a “spoiled brat.”
Williams said she wished she “could give her[Naomi] a hug,” but other tournament contenders weren’t as nice about the situation. “Press and players and the tournaments comes hand-in-hand,” Victoria Azarenka said. “I think it’s very important in developing our sport, in promoting our sport.”
After she withdrew, Osaka took to social media to explain her actions and clarify that she believes in her reasons.
“I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly,” she wrote. “The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that. Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety.”
“Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologize especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media.”
She offered her help to find a solution that works for the media and the players.
“I’m gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans. Anyways hope you are all doing well and staying safe, love you guys I’ll see you when I see you.”