The 40-year-old tennis legend was responding to questions regarding the shocking withdrawal of current superstar Osaka due to her admitted bouts with depression. Osaka was lambasted by Roland Garros officials in Paris when she tweeted she would not conduct interviews during the Grand Slam tournament because it triggered anxiety attacks and exacerbated her despondency.
That Twitter announcement touched off a worldwide firestorm of controversy. And when the French Open honchos fined her, Osaka immediately backed out of the major tournament. Serena Williams and especially sister Venus Williams offered support while taking shots at the media.
“For me personally, how I deal with it was that I know every single person asking me a question can’t play as well as I can and never will,” Venus Williams said. “So, no matter what you say or what you write, you’ll never light a candle to me.”
Venus Williams = 👑👑👑 pic.twitter.com/VHbXhyUiuc
— iPaulie (@iPaulie) June 2, 2021
On Tuesday, the leaders of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments (Australian, French, Wimbledon and U.S. Open) released a joint statement backing Osaka and vowing to adjust their processes to alleviate the toxicity during press conferences.
“We wish to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way possible as she takes time away from the court,” the statement read according to Yahoo! Sports. “She is an exceptional athlete, and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems appropriate.”
While there has been some blowback for those heat-seeking words from Williams, she mostly has been hailed a hero from her ardent admirers.
Venus is a legend, now and forever. https://t.co/BY8ay3XCwR
— Liz Roscher (@lizroscher) June 1, 2021
(I know media types are already divided on this answer but I unabashedly love it.)
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) June 1, 2021
Venus Williams said your insults can’t reach me because you’re not at my level😂🔥pic.twitter.com/z6vGdIAJB5
— ⚜️TV Fanatic⚜️ (@TvKhaleesi) June 1, 2021
I 💕💕 Venus Williams. Queen. 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 https://t.co/VXq9TCfYC5
Well. Venus Williams is schooling all of us in not letting doubt, haters, mediocre people, and imposter syndrome dull our sparkle and I am 100% here for it. I am so ready to slay after hearing this. https://t.co/gEu7JyYqDQ
— Jennifer Allison (@jallison02140) June 2, 2021