The USTA said in a statement that tennis players will benefit from a “comprehensive medical services program” at the Flushing Meadows complex, which will include access to mental health professionals and “quiet rooms.”
“Raising awareness of the issue of mental health has become a priority in the context of the global pandemic, with so many people, including gamers, suffering from their emotions, due to Covid-19,” said the US Open Director Stacey Allister.
Japanese world number 2 Naomi Osaka spoke about the importance of the subject in May, when she gave up her Roland Garros tournament after making her debut. She declined to participate in post-match press conferences, saying she felt the pressure. The organization threatened her with a fine and eventually Osaka gave up continuing the competition. Shortly after, it was revealed that the tennis player had suffered from depression for years. The organization of Roland Garros said, after the episode, that it could have done better concerning the mental health of the athletes. Naomi Osaka will play the US Open.
At the Tokyo Olympics, American gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from some tests, saying she was focusing on her mental health.
USTA vice president and professor of neuroscience at Indiana University and New York University Brian Heinlein said he hopes the program being implemented at the US Open will increase l ‘access to mental health support.