Meditation App Calm Supports Naomi Osaka By Paying Fines for Players Who Skip Grand Slam Press Conferences

Naomi Osaka has caused a huge ripple effect in the world of sports after skipping a press conference and withdrawing from the tournament to prioritize her mental health. Now, with pundits and players all opening up to have a conversation about the intense pressures that come with being in the public eye, meditation app Calm is standing with her and others who may be looking to do the same.

Earlier this week, the company donated $15,000 to French youth sports charity Laureus and offered to pay the fine of any Grand Slam tennis player who decides to opt-out of a media appearance due to their mental health. It will also match the $15,000 with a donation to Laureus.

Osaka, 23, is the second-ranked female tennis player in the world, and was slapped with a $15,000 fine and threatened with disqualification after she skipped a post-game press conference following her first-round win at the French Open. She explained in a statement on Monday that she has suffered from depression and decided to skip the press event “to exercise self-care,” which later turned into her withdrawing from the competition altogether.

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Osaka’s exit has sparked renewed conversation around the mental health of professional athletes. In addition to that, there has been an outpouring of support from the likes of Olympian Michael Phelps, also a spokesperson for therapy app Talkspace, who said he was “saddened” by the backlash she has received during a Thursday appearance on CNN.

“Mental health is not a joke, this is real and serious. This takes a lot of courage to do. Let’s all make sure Naomi knows she’s not alone,” Formula One racing champion Lewis Hamilton said in a Twitter post on Tuesday.

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