U.S. Open offering tennis players access to mental health pros

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NEW YORK — Players at the U.S. Open will have access to licensed mental health providers and quiet rooms as part of an initiative announced by the U.S. Tennis Association.

The USTA said it seeks to “ensure that a comprehensive and holistic approach will be taken with all aspects of player health, including mental health.”

“Our goal is to make mental health services as readily available to athletes as services for a sprained ankle – and with no stigma attached,” said Dr. Brian Hainline, a USTA first vice president. “We will provide an environment that fosters wellness while providing the necessary resources to readily allow mental health care seeking.”

Reigning U.S. Open champion Naomi Osaka brought attention to the topic when she pulled out of the French Open in late May to take a mental health break, then sat out Wimbledon, too. She said she has “huge waves of anxiety” before speaking to the media and that she has “suffered long bouts of depression.”

Other athletes in tennis – and other sports – also have discussed their concerns.