Athletes, actors and other prominent figures came out swinging on behalf of Naomi Osaka this week after the Japanese tennis champion withdrew from the French Open to prioritise her mental health. Among the many who voiced their support for Osaka last weekend were basketball stars Steph Curry and Lisa Leslie as well as tennis greats Billie Jean King, Venus Williams and Serena Williams, who said she wished she could give her frequent opponent “a hug” amid the fervour surrounding her actions. Shiloh Jolie-Pitt at 15 You shouldnt ever have to make a decison like this-but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be dont protect their own. major respect @naomiosaka https://t.co/OcRd95MqCn — Stephen Curry (@StephenCurry30) May 31, 2021 On Monday, May 31, Osaka announced her departure from the grand slam tournament after winning her first-round match – and incurring a US$15,000 fine for opting out of a subsequent news conference. The ace athlete, who lives in Los Angeles, had previously stated that she would not participate in press events during the competition, citing a disregard for players’ mental well-being. “I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that,” Osaka explained Monday in a statement on social media. “I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media. I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can. So here in Paris I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences.” How does NBA star LeBron James spend his millions? While speaking with reporters in Paris after triumphing in her own first-round match, Serena Williams defended Osaka’s decision, acknowledging that players “have different personalities, and people are different”. “I feel for Naomi,” she said. “I know what it’s like. I’ve been in those positions. Not everyone is the same. I’m thick. Other people are thin. You just have to let her handle it the way she wants to, in the best way she thinks she can, and that’s the only thing I can say. I think she’s doing the best that she can.” “It’s incredibly brave that Naomi Osaka has revealed her truth about her struggle with depression,” another tennis icon, King, tweeted. “Right now, the important thing is that we give her the space and time she needs. We wish her well.” It’s incredibly brave that Naomi Osaka has revealed her truth about her struggle with depression. Right now, the important thing is that we give her the space and time she needs. We wish her well. — Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) May 31, 2021 On Instagram, Serena Williams’ sister and fellow tennis phenom Venus Williams encouraged Osaka to “take care” of herself and looked forward to seeing her “back winning soon”. Other sports luminaries who wished Osaka well in the comment section of her latest Instagram post were Coco Gauff, Sloane Stephens, Kyrie Irving and Usain Bolt. View this post on Instagram A post shared by 大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) The sports community also rallied for Osaka on Twitter, where Golden State Warriors point guard Curry showed “major respect” for the 23-year-old athlete’s courage to speak up for herself. Friends cast net worths, ranked “You shouldn’t ever have to make a decision like this – but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own,” he tweeted. “It’s so sad that we are in a time that when a young person tells you they need help or a break, people respond with anger and lack of support!” former Los Angeles Sparks centre Leslie wrote. “I stand with you @naomiosaka. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health.” A number of Hollywood stars stood with Osaka on social media as well. Among her celebrity admirers were Sanaa Lathan, Patton Oswalt, Padma Lakshmi, Olivia Munn, Roxane Gay, Gene Simmons, Ava DuVernay and Jada Pinkett Smith, who remarked that Osaka’s withdrawal is “your loss French Open”. “Shouldn’t one’s athletic ability be the focus and what’s most important?” tweeted Red Table Talk host Smith. “@naomiosaka was clearly ready to play and had enough awareness of self to recognise her mental health challenges around the media. Mental health should be one’s first consideration. I’m proud of her.” Prioritizing Mental health can be life saving. This is not a game. Proud of her for exercising this amount of self care even in the face of huge opposition. ❤️ https://t.co/7QYVyuAK07 — Sanaa Lathan (@justsanaa) May 31, 2021 “Prioritising mental health can be life saving,” actor Lathan wrote. “This is not a game. Proud of her for exercising this amount of self care even in the face of huge opposition.” 8 reasons why Meghan Markle deserves a break In response to her announcement, French Tennis Federation President Gilles Morreton said in a statement that the organisation is “sorry and sad” for Osaka and touted its commitment “to all athletes’ well-being and to continually improving every aspect of players’ experience in our tournament”. “The outcome of Naomi withdrawing from Roland-Garros is unfortunate,” Morreton said. “We wish her the best and the quickest possible recovery, and we look forward to having Naomi at our tournament next year.” Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .