Tennis-Anisimova praises ‘inspiring’ Osaka for speaking out on mental health – ReadSector

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – American Amanda Anisimova praised Naomi Osaka for her authenticity after beating her out of the Australian Open and said it was “inspirational” to see the Japanese player speak out on mental health issues.

Osaka withdrew from last year’s French Open after being fined and threatened with expulsion for refusing to fulfill media duties, which she says contributed to the depression she struggled with for years.

The four-time Grand Slam champion, who also skipped Wimbledon in 2021, exited the Australian Open on Thursday as Anisimova clinched a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10-5) win in the third round.

“I think she’s really inspiring. What she has accomplished over the past few years is amazing and how authentic she is,” Anisimova told reporters. “It was really cool to finally play against them today.

“She’s just telling the truth about how she feels. I know she went through a really tough year last year so I kinda feel for her today.

“I’ve been through a tough few years and I don’t mind posting things on social media and just trying to raise awareness for people who are going through tough things too. I think it’s great to connect with other people who follow us.”

The American hit a career-best 21 in 2019 but has struggled in recent years, falling to her current rank of 60.

“Yes, last year was a big fight for me,” said Anisimova. “Sometimes you doubt it, what if I get injured and can never play in a Grand Slam again?”

“Yeah, last year just wasn’t that great, I wasn’t happy with all my results.

“I’m just happy that I had a great pre-season with my team. You have done an incredible job with me. So the people you surround yourself with are also very important and that has really helped me after the past year.”

Anisimova meets Australian world number one Ash Barty in the fourth round, against whom she lost in the semifinals of the 2019 French Open.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)

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