American tennis icon Chris Evert took a moment to acknowledge Naomi Osaka and Ons Jabeur’s positive impact on International Women’s Day. Osaka, 25, is a four-time Grand Slam champion and also one of the biggest advocates for athletes’ good mental health.
During the 2021 French Open, Osaka publicly opened up about her battle with depression and anxiety. Since then, more athletes from various sports have told about their struggles with mental health issues, with some crediting Osaka for giving them the courage to speak up.
On the other side, 28-year-old Jabeur was the first Arab player to reach a Grand Slam final and win a WTA 1000 title. Jabeur, who is now ranked at No 4 in the world, has singlehandedly made tennis more popular in the Arab world.
Evert hails the positive impact of Osaka, Jabeur
“I think everybody brings something, all the top players. I mean, I don’t know how you can differentiate between Naomi for what she did for mental health and Jabeur for the influence she has in the Arab world and the African world.
Ons has been a role model for women in that part of the world who haven’t had the rights and haven’t had the freedom and the resources that we’ve had over here in America or in other parts of the world. Talk about transcending the sport!
She has just influenced a culture and a society that needed a leader like her. So I would say both of those young women currently in today’s game have really made a significant impact on society in the world,” Evert told Eurosport.
Osaka is currently sidelined and she is expected to miss the entire 2022 season. In January, Osaka announced her pregnancy. In her pregnancy announcement, Osaka also confirmed she plans to return to the Australian Open in 2024.
Meanwhile, Jabeur had a minor surgery in early February. In Indian Wells, Jabeur is playing her first tournament since the Australian Open. In the desert, fourth-seeded Jabeur has a first-round bye.