Serena Williams speaks on finding press “very difficult” following Osaka withdrawal

Serena Williams

Serena Williams has revealed she often felt anxious and concerned when taking part in press conferences with the media.

The news comes following Naomi Osaka’s recent withdrawal from the French Open.

The Japanese star cited mental health problems as the reason for her decision and admitted that she’s suffered from “long bouts of depression” since the 2018 US Open.

Williams, who was speaking after her first-round Roland-Garros win over Irina-Camelia Begu, responded to a question asking if she’d even found talking to the press mentally tough.

“Yeah, a lot,” she stressed. “[There’s been] many of them I’ve been in where it’s been difficult to walk in [to the room] in those moments. But, it made me stronger.”

The 39-year-old also emphasised that she is impartial on Osaka’s choice to leave the tournament, but said she feels for the world number two and wishes she “could give her a hug.”

The US icon continued by saying it’s important for Osaka to be allowed to cope with this on her own terms –– highlighting how every athlete has alternative methods of dealing with things.

“We have different personalities. I’m thick, other people are thin… You just need to let her handle it the way she wants to.”

Williams will now face Romania’s Mihaela Buzărnescu în round two as she chases a record-equalling 24th major title.

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