June 16, 2021

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Japan’s Naomi Osaka must find ‘safe space’ to overcome issues, says Evert

LONDON — Japan’s world number two Naomi Osaka must take the time to be in a “safe space” and seek help to figure out the dilemma she finds herself in, according to American tennis great Chris Evert.

Osaka withdrew from the French Open before the second round in the wake of controversy caused by her decision to skip mandatory post-match news conferences at the tournament.

She revealed that she had been suffering bouts of anxiety and depression since bursting into the limelight by winning the US Open in 2018, the first of her four Grand Slams.

Osaka is yet to announce whether she will return to play at Wimbledon which starts on June 28.

“I have no idea, I don’t know, I’m not in her head,” Evert, an analyst for broadcaster Eurosport, told Reuters when asked whether Osaka should play at the grasscourt championships.

“You have to walk in someone’s shoes. I just hope she takes the time that she needs to get away to be in a safe place, a safe space, to have good people around her.

“She needs professionals to help her figure it out, the dilemma that she’s in.” — Reuters