Naomi Osaka thanks Meghan Markle and Michelle Obama for support after French Open

·2-min read
Osaka thanks Meghan Markle and Michelle Obama for support over row (AP)
Osaka thanks Meghan Markle and Michelle Obama for support over row (AP)

Naomi Osaka has thanked Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama and Novak Djokovic for their support after she faced criticism for her withdrawal from the French Open.

The 23-year-old pulled out from this year’s Roland Garros after the backlash over her refusal to speak to the media.

Many stars come out in support of the sports star when she bowed out of the hotly-anticipated tennis tournament.

In an essay published by Time’s Olympic preview issue, Osaka said she hopes “we can enact measures to protect athletes, especially the fragile ones”.

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She wrote: “Michelle Obama, Michael Phelps, Steph Curry, Novak Djokovic, Meghan Markle, to name a few. Furthermore, I am eternally grateful to all my partners. Although I am not surprised as I purposefully chose brand partners that are liberal, empathetic and progressive, I am still tremendously thankful.”

Her essay comes just days before the Wimbledon tournament comes to an end on Sunday.

The four-time grand slam champion has not played a match since her withdrawal but she will be returning to competition at the Tokyo Olympics which will open on July 23.

The 23-year-old had received a tirade of abuse from the public with some calling her weak for refusing to attend press briefings while others described her as attention seeking.

High-profile media personalities, including Piers Morgan, were also involved in Osaka’s criticism.

Mr Morgan wrote a column piece in which he said she was an “arrogant spoiled brat” and labelled her “world sport’s most petulant little madam” in a tweet.

But Osaka revealed in her essay that she received support from “too many” people to name and thanked her family and friends for their comfort.

“Furthermore, I am eternally grateful to all my partners. Although I am not surprised as I purposefully chose brand partners that are liberal, empathetic and progressive, I am still tremendously thankful,” she added.

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