Tina Charles applauds Naomi Osaka for taking care of herself after French Open withdraw

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Tina Charles applauds Naomi Osaka for taking care of herself originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

While Washington Mystics star Tina Charles said she hasn't dealt firsthand with mental health issues throughout her career, she is fully supportive of other athletes that need to take steps to ensure their stability. 

Late last month, tennis No. 1 Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open one day after being fined by officials for not doing media interviews. In a statement posted to her social media, Osaka said she had been battling depression and anxiety and was exercising self-care by skipping the media availability.

Charles, on Thursday, joined the rising number of professional athletes in and out of tennis to support Osaka's decision when asked about the story.

"I applaud her. You always have to take care of yourself first," Charles told reporters via Zoom on Thursday. "You always have to take care of home first and that's exactly what she did. I haven't been through anything that she's been through or others when it comes to mental health, but I always support those who take care of themselves first and know that they have to keep themselves as a priority and everything else second."

While Charles said she hadn't had similar issues with her mental health, she pointed out that many athletes have spoken up in recent years about their own struggles in hopes of helping others on and off the court.

"Just because I haven't up to this point my career doesn't mean I won't, but seeing how those before me your DeMar DeRozans, your LaMarcus Aldridge spoke out the other day, Kevin Love and now Naomi Osaka and say, Elizabeth Cambage... there's so many players that have came out about mental health awareness so I definitely take note into that," Charles said. 

Other athletes may soon follow Osaka's lead according to Charles. In tennis (and in many sports), press conferences are required, but if one of the world's biggest female athletes sees something as a detriment to her mental health, there could be others that vocalize when they feel the same way. 

"There's no way you can go out and play and do if you don't take care of your mental and what you need. So I'm happy that she made herself a priority and took that step and I'm pretty sure other athletes in similar situations or not will continue to do the same thing and put themselves first and advocate for what they need, first," Charles said.