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Mental health: Stephens says it’s important to keep talking


Former US Open champion Sloane Stephens wants more discussion about mental health to help people inside and outside tennis talk openly about what’s bothering them

“Absolutely. I think it hasn’t been talked about enough,” she said after winning a third-round match at the French Open on Saturday. “I think it’s definitely (a) for everyone The top priority is, not just the tennis players but also you guys who are dealing with life in general.”

Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka pulled out of the French Open on Monday with a renewed focus on mental health and cited difficulties dealing with “huge waves of anxiety”.

Stephens, 28, said players can be too quiet when they really need to feel like they can open up to others.

“I think a lot of players are suffering from silence on our tour. I think it’s not good and not fair and we should definitely look at it differently.” “The more support, the better. I think it’s very helpful not only for us girls to support each other but for the tour to be able to support us in different ways. “

Stephens, an American who won the US Open in 2017 and was runner-up at the French Open in 2018, says rivals may really need each other to deal with the court.

“As competitors and colleagues, I think it’s important to support each other, because honestly, every single week on the road is really what we have,” she said. “We are the same faces we see all the time. I think it is very important to be able to support each other through the ups and downs, because of course tennis is super emotional.”

Second-ranked Osaka’s decision to withdraw from Roland Garros prompted support for her courage in some quarters, but also some hostility on social networks.

The multiplicity of often explicit and offensive criticism on social networks has made it very easy to affect people’s mental health.

“Obviously we live in a world where there’s the Internet… all these things that creep into your mind,” Stephens said.

“It’s really important to be able to talk to people, talk to someone about what you’re feeling, what you’re going through,” Stephens said. “It’s not easy to just pretend that everything is great when it isn’t.”

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More AP Tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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