Tennis: Olympics-Tennis-We need to do more for player mental health – ITF chief

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Tennis governing bodies take mental health issues very seriously but recognize that more needs to be done to support players in this area, International Tennis Federation chief David told Reuters. Haggerty.

Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from Roland Garros in May highlighted the issue of athlete welfare and after American gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from the squad and general events this week in an effort to protect her health mental, the subject returns to the foreground.

“Mental health is very, very important,” said Haggerty, who is also a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), in an interview at the Games.

“In the normal course of business, we work together with the men’s and women’s tours to make sure that we are really there for the players, that they have the ability to speak to someone for help when they need it. need the right way.

“But we think we can still do better.”

When Osaka first declared that she would not speak to the media at Roland Garros to protect her sanity, the organizers of the clay-court grand slam fined her $ 15,000 after boycotting the conference. post-match press and they have also joined forces with the other three Grand Slam tournaments to threaten her with expulsion from Roland Garros and ban her from entering other major tournaments.

This forced Osaka to withdraw from Roland Garros and she also revealed how she struggled with depression for several years – and it was only then that tennis authorities admitted they needed to do more to help them. players.

Haggerty said the ITF’s Scientific and Medical Committee on Sport has started looking for new ways to tackle the problem, which he said has been made worse for some players by the global health crisis.

“We have also engaged with the IOC and other groups so that it becomes more than just tennis but that it is a sport at large,” he said.

“I think the athletes after 15 to 18 months of being locked out in sport it’s a tough time. We have to be there for the athletes and tennis certainly takes it very seriously.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a massive disruption to the global tennis calendar and left a big dent in the finances of the game.

As a result, the ITF joined with ATP, WTA and the four Grand Slam boards and formed a “T7 working group” to look at areas of collaboration like a unified timeline, offers shared commercials, sponsorship and television agreements.

“The pandemic has certainly intensified our discussions,” the 64-year-old said.

“Everyone wants to work together as best they can, they each have different stakeholders. But I think we have a good collaboration. What comes out of it? We should see.

“These things take time. I don’t want to build a big hope that the world will change with this. At the same time, I think we are moving forward and working together.”

(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly; editing by Pritha Sarkar)


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