Venus Williams Wimbledon 2017

‘I really love that’ – Venus Williams praises Naomi Osaka for prioritising her mental health

Venus Williams is encouraged by Naomi Osaka taking care of her mental health and is “glad there’s a bigger conversation happening now.”

14-time Grand Slam doubles champion Venus Williams has praised Naomi Osaka and American gymnast Simone Biles for prioritising their mental health.

Earlier this year, four-time Grand Slam winner Osaka initially decided to boycott French Open press conferences but then decided to completely withdraw from the tournament and also pulled out of Wimbledon.

This was done in an effort to improve her mental health after Osaka revealed she had been suffering depressive episodes since 2018.

Venus Williams has been a vocal advocate for a range of social causes, including mental health and well-being.

In August, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) partnered with Venus and online therapy website BetterHelp in a promotion to give away $2 billion (£1.5 billion) worth of free therapy with a licensed professional to anyone who felt they needed it.

In an interview with American Business magazine Forbes, seven-time Grand Slam singles champion Venus said “mental health and self care are so important. And I am glad there’s a bigger conversation happening right now.

“I’m very excited that addressing mental health needs [has become] easy to do, and that therapy can be digital.

“Being able to reach people on their phones or on their laptops is the way to connect people now with services that they really do need.

“The fact that athletes have taken the centre stage regarding mental health issues now is very encouraging. It gives people the opportunity to talk about things they haven’t talked about with anyone before – to open that conversation.

“I really love that. I love that these young ladies are stepping up to take care of themselves, doing what it takes for their own long-term health.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.