TOKYO: Japan joined leading figures in tennis in rallying around Naomi Osaka on Tuesday after the world number two withdrew from the French Open in a row about post-match media duties, saying she had been suffering from “depression” and “anxiety”. One of the biggest names in sport, Osaka stunned the tennis world when she pulled out of the Grand Slam on Monday after being fined and threatened with expulsion for declining to face the media after her first-round match on Sunday. The four-times Grand Slam champion had last week signalled her intentions to skip her media duties to protect her mental well-being and she returned to Twitter on Monday to announce her withdrawal. While her original stance had earned the Japanese 23-year-old little backing from her fellow professionals, most saying that dealing with the media was part of the job, her withdrawal triggered a wave of support from around the world. “The first thing to be considered is Ms. Osaka’s health. I wish her the earliest possible recovery,” Japan Tennis Association (JTA) Executive Director Toshihisa Tsuchihashi said in a statement on Tuesday. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a news conference that he would “watch over her quietly” and there was concern on the streets of Tokyo for the woman who will be one of the faces of this year’s Olympic Games in the city. “I think she’s under a lot of pressure, more than we can imagine,” kimono dresser Tomomi Noguchi, 67, said. “She got to the top when she was young so I think we can’t really imagine what she’s going through.” Earlier, Williams sisters Serena and Venus, as well as younger American players Coco Gauff and Sloane Stephens, chimed in with messages of support as the focus shifted from Osaka’s responsibilities to her wellbeing. There were also messages of support posted on social media from athletes in other sports.