Serena Williams: Wish I could give Naomi Osaka a hug

23-time major champion Serena Williams says she sympathizes with Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams sympathizes with Naomi Osaka

Serena Williams had nothing but empathy for Naomi Osaka after the latter pulled out of the French Open due to the backlash over her decision to boycott media.

Osaka was fined $15,000 for not attending the post-match press conference after her first round win and was told she could face a default if she continued to skip media interactions.

ALSO READ: Roger Federer makes winning return at Grand Slams

The four-time major champion, on Monday, announced that she would be withdrawing from the claycourt Grand Slam and taking some time off tennis.

After Serena Williams completed a 7-6, 6-2 win over Irina-Camelia Begu on Monday, the American was asked if she had felt anxiety while facing the press after a tough loss.

Sharpen your forehand with our FREE guide

“Yeah, a lot. You know that. Many, many of them. I’ve been where I’ve been very difficult to walk in those moments. But, you know, it made me stronger,” the 39-year-old said.

“The only thing I feel is that I feel for Naomi. I feel like I wish I could give her hug because I know what it’s like. Like I said, I’ve been in those positions.

ALSO READ: Alexander Zverev mocks Naomi Osaka

“You just have to let her handle it in 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.”

Williams is chasing a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title, which has eluded her for more than three years.

ALSO READ: Stars missing from this year’s French Open

The sports world rallied behind Osaka following her shock revelation that she had suffered from ‘long bouts of depression’ ever since her maiden Grand Slam win at the 2018 US Open.

Here are some of the reactions on Twitter: