Mets' Francisco Lindor praises Naomi Osaka’s French Open decision: ‘Athletes are people first’

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Francisco Lindor throw ball home whites side angle
Francisco Lindor throw ball home whites side angle

Just about an hour before the Mets and Diamondbacks were set to take the field in Arizona, Francisco Lindor released a statement to show his support for Naomi Osaka.

The 23-year-old Osaka, who is second in the world in the WTA rankings, recently announced that she had withdrawn from the French Open to focus on her mental health and "exercise self-care," as she wrote.

“Athletes are people first. Respect to Naomi for the courage it took to speak up for herself and her mental health,” Lindor’s statement read. “As athletes, we have a lot of people looking up to us and we want to be role models to them beyond the game.

"There needs to be more conversation and education about this to ensure that not only athletes, but all of us, feel supported in our mental well-being."

Osaka announced her decision on Monday, after previously announcing that she would not be speaking to the media to protect her mental health.

"I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my wellbeing is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” she said.

"The truth is I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that."

Lindor is not the first New York athlete to voice support for Osaka. Kyrie Irving responded to Osaka’s announcement on Instagram, saying “We are all with you Queen. Just Be You, that will always be enough.”