Will Smith is the latest star to offer a message of support for tennis player Naomi Osaka.
The world number two received a wave of support after withdrawing from the French Open earlier this week. Before she chose to step back completely, Osaka had decided against attending press conferences during the Grand Slam. She was subsequently fined and threatened with expulsion from the tournament, which led to her early exit.
Osaka’s cited mental health issues as the reason behind her withdrawal, having previously stressed that facing the press after a loss was like “kicking a person when they’re down.” The 23-year-old suggested she may be away from the court for some time.
The response to Osaka’s stance has been mixed, but a number of stars have come out in support of the Japanese talent. This includes fellow player Coco Gauff and tennis icon Billie Jean King.
The situation has also transcended the world of tennis, with Hollywood actor Will Smith the most recent notable figure to offer Osaka his support. He shared a post on Instagram, showing a piece of paper with a message on. “Hey Naomi, You are Right,” he had written. “They are Wrong! I am with you.”
Smith rose to fame in the 1990s for his role in the American television show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. He has also starred in Men in Black, I, Robot, Hitch and I Am Legend.
Popstar Pink joined Smith in commenting on the situation. “For whatever it’s worth – I’m proud of Naomi Osaka for putting her mental health, her well-being above everything,” the singer wrote on Twitter.
“If we don’t take care of our health, our wellness- well then who will? What do we have if we don’t have our health? Don’t we know by now that success isn’t worth our life?”
It is not known when Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam winner, will return to the court. When she is ready to come back, she will have the support of a number of notable figures.