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Grand Slam committee changes tone with Naomi Osaka

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The Grand Slam committee released a statement Tuesday in the wake of Naomi Osaka’s withdrawal from the French Open amid threats of expulsion by the governing body.

The statement recognized mental health as “a very challenging issue” and vowed to put efforts into the crisis. Overall, the statement had a much different tone than the one issued over the weekend, when Osaka was fined $15,000 with further code of conduct penalties for refusing to do press conferences.

Pam Shriver, ESPN’s top women’s tennis commentator and a Hall of Famer, told The Post the USTA didn’t show enough “compassion.”

Here’s the statement weaved by the four Grand Slam tournaments, including the U.S. Open:

“On behalf of the Grand Slams, we wish to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way possible as she takes time away from the court. She is an exceptional athlete and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems appropriate.

Naomi Osaka plays in the French Open in 2020.
Naomi Osaka plays in the French Open in 2020.
Getty Images

“Mental health is a very challenging issue, which deserves our utmost attention. It is both complex and personal, as what affects one individual does not necessarily affect another. We commend Naomi for sharing in her own words the pressures and anxieties she is feeling and we empathize with the unique pressures tennis players may face.

“While players’ well-being has always been a priority to the Grand Slams, our intention, together with the WTA, the ATP and the ITF, is to advance mental health and well-being through further actions.

“Together as a community we will continue to improve the player experience at our tournaments, including as it relates to media. Change should come through the lens of maintaining a fair playing field, regardless of ranking or status. Sport requires rules and regulations to ensure that no player has an unfair advantage over another.

“We intend to work alongside the players, the tours, the media and the broader tennis community to create meaningful improvements. As Grand Slams, we aim to create the stage for the players to achieve the highest accolades in our sport.”

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