The U.S. Open is taking tennis players' mental health seriously.
In the wake of the Naomi Osaka ordeal, the U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) released a statement explaining that it will be providing athletes participating in the upcoming event access to mental health providers as well as "quiet rooms."
"The medical services program for the 2021 tournament will include licensed mental health providers, giving players access to mental health services throughout the duration of the event," the USTA said in a statement, according to Fox News.
"In addition, quiet rooms and other support services will be provided. The U.S. Open will work closely and collaboratively with the WTA and ATP sport science and medicine staff on site in an effort to ensure players understand the enhanced medical services available, and how to access these health offerings as needed."
The provisions come after Osaka dropped out of the French Open following criticism for skipping press conferences to take care of her mental health. Since then, the tennis star has unintentionally become an advocate for mental health. She has highlighted how athletes are forced to endure questioning by the media in a manner that creates self-doubt and anxiety, and she has called for athletes to be granted the freedom to take personal days off.
"I've often felt that people have no regard for athletes’ mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one," she recently wrote in a statement on Twitter. "We're often sat there and asked questions that we've been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I'm not just going to subject myself to people that doubt me."
Following her unexpected 6-1, 6-4 loss to former French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in the third round of the Olympic tennis tournament in July, Osaka admitted she had been feeling under pressure.
"I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others," she said, according to the Associated Press. "I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this," she added. "I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in the Olympics before and for the first year (it) was a bit much."
USTA CEO and Executive Director Mike Dowse noted how important it is to ensure mental health in athletes be taken seriously.
"We recognize that ensuring the mental health of the players is an area that needed to be addressed," he said, "and we are taking formative steps to give athletes the necessary resources to compete at the highest level."
© 2023 Newsmax. All rights reserved.