The American Tennis Federation (USTA), organizer of the US Open which begins on Monday, announced on Wednesday the establishment of various medical services “aimed at providing players with the best possible support in matters of mental health.” “The tournament’s medical services program will include licensed mental health service providers, available to players throughout its duration. In addition, rest rooms and other support services will be provided, ”the statement said.
The US Open will work closely with scientific and medical staff from the WTA Women’s and Men’s ATP circuits on site, to ensure that players understand the medical services available and how to access these health offerings if needed. “, it is specified. This” initiative for the mental health “of professional players is a response that the USTA wanted to bring to a growing concern in recent months in the microcosm of professional tennis, since the resounding package of Naomi Osaka at Roland-Garros, last May.
The latter had taken this decision after being sanctioned by the management of the Paris tournament, for having refused to speak to the press, in order to “preserve his mental health”. After the Japanese star revealed anxiety problems, marked by “several depressive episodes”, the organizers of the four Grand Slam tournaments – Australian Open, Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open – assured him. for their support, promising to “act on the issue of mental health and well-being” of players.
The US Open is a pioneer in this area
The US Open is therefore the first Major to tackle this problem, which has manifested itself among other players in recent months such as the French Benoit Paire, “mentally exhausted” by the context of the pandemic of Covid-19, or the Austrian Dominic Thiem, “fell into a hole” after his victory at the US Open last year, and which quickly overtook the tennis sphere.
Thus at the Tokyo Olympics, the American star of gymnastics Simone Biles, expected to raid medals, had given up four finals, paralyzed by the pressure. “We look forward to seeing how the initiatives put in place at the US Open, as well as others in the months to come, will impact player well-being,” said tournament director Stacey Allaster, committing to continue “to look for ways to improve ourselves”.