Michelle Wie West has called for “more conversations” regarding the mental health of sports personalities in the wake of Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open.
Osaka has earned plaudits and support from high-profile stars across many sports following her decision to pull out of the second Grand Slam event of the tennis season, releasing a statement detailing her off-court issues which could keep her sidelined for many weeks.
The decision of the highest-paid sportswomen in the world to take such drastic action has been described as “incredibly brave” by Wie West, who has battled similar difficulties in the past as one of the most scrutinised golfers in the world at her peak.
“My lows have definitely been well-documented throughout the years, and there have been a lot of tough times,” said Wie West ahead of this week’s US Women’s Open in California, where she will be under less pressure from a playing perspective and is looking forward to scouting in her role as Solheim Cup assistant captain.
“I thought what Naomi did this past week was incredibly brave. I also understand that part of being an athlete is speaking to the media because that’s how the tournaments get done is through the media coverage.
“From a player perspective, I am totally understanding. I do get anxiety talking to media like right before it because I know it’s the same questions every week. You guys are just doing your job, and I really appreciate that. I really appreciate the media covering women’s sports in general.
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“Definitely as a player, it gets tough, especially after having a bad round. The last thing you want to do is talk to anyone.
“So it’s tough, especially when you’re not doing well, or there’s a lot more to life than your game. There could be other stuff happening.
“It is sometimes crippling at times, but I’m really proud of athletes taking charge of their mental health and making it a priority. More conversations need to be had about that.”
Tennis was also a topic of discussion for the Korda sisters as they reacted to questions regarding their younger brother, Sebastian, who won his maiden ATP Tour title in Parma last week.
“It’s good; I get referred to as Petr Korda’s daughter and Jessica Korda’s little sister, and now I’m going to be referred to as Sebastian Korda’s sister,” said Nelly Korda.
“But I pretty much watched every round and it was amazing. He played really well, and I’m super happy for him. He trained so hard during the shutdown, when it first happened. He came out and just started really balling out. He played really well. He put in so much work, and to just see that is pretty inspiring.
“Jess is playing really well this year, too. We all have a win, which is cool. I guess, in a way, we are feeding off each other, but we know it’s an individual sport, and at the end of the day, everyone carves their own path.”
US Women’s Open Golf
June 4, 2021, 6:00am
Older sibling, Jessica, added: “It was so cool to watch him win. I was actually packing to come here. I forgot some things I needed to pack, but other than that, it was great!
“We were so excited to see him win. He’s been in the finals a couple times, he’s been close, and he just kept knocking on the door until it finally opened.”
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