French Open: Sloane Stephens feels mental health has been neglected far too long on the tennis circuit

Sloane Stephens feels the subject of mental health has been neglected far too long on the tennis circuit, saying “a lot of players on our tour suffer in silence”.

The American, who is on the WTA players’ council, has previously spoken about Naomi Osaka’s decision to withdraw from the French Open, saying the four-time Grand Slam champion should be supported and applauded for quitting Roland Garros in order to focus on her mental health.

Stephens overcame an attacking Karolina Muchova on Saturday, ousting the Czech 18th seed with a 6-3 7-5 victory and progressing to the fourth round.

After her victory, the former world No 3, who reached the final here in 2018, spoke further on the subject of mental health, admitting it has been disregarded for too long on the tour.

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“It’s super important to be able to support each other through the ups and downs, because obviously tennis is super emotional.”

Sloane Stephens

“I feel like it’s not spoken about enough. I feel like a lot of players on our tour suffer in silence. I think that it’s not cool and not fair and we should definitely approach it differently, because everyone deals with things differently and in their own way,” the 28-year-old said.

“The more support, the better. I think not only for us girls supporting each other but for the tour to be able to support us in different ways is super helpful.

“Obviously we live in a world where there is the Internet and there is people saying you’re being a baby, all these things that creep into your mind. I think as a tour and as competitors and colleagues, I think it’s important to support each other just because, honestly, on the road every single week we’re really all we have.

“We’re the same faces that we see all the time. It’s super important to be able to support each other through the ups and downs, because obviously tennis is super emotional.”

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Stephens reiterated that “mental, physical and emotional health” is important at a time where some countries are slowly coming out of a global pandemic and “life has been very different and very difficult”.

“I think it’s really important to be able to talk to people, talk to someone, just about what you’re feeling, what you’re going through, because it’s not easy to just pretend that everything is great when it’s not, because we know that everyone has struggled however long the pandemic has been,” Stephens said.

“I think it’s always important to talk about how you’re feeling and where you can make some changes and make yourself feel better and take care of yourself.

“I think it’s definitely top priority for everyone.”

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