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US Open offering tennis players access to mental health pros

August 25, 2021 GMT
FILE - The U.S. Open logo is shown on the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament in New York, in this  Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, file photo. The two singles champions at this year’s U.S. Open each will earn 35% less than in 2019, the last time the Grand Slam tennis tournament allowed spectators, while prize money for qualifying and the first three rounds of the main draw will rise as part of an overall increase. A year after banning fans entirely during the coronavirus pandemic and lowering prize money because of lost revenue, the U.S. Tennis Association announced Monday that it will be boosting total player compensation to a record $57.5 million, slightly more than the $57.2 million in 2019. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
FILE - The U.S. Open logo is shown on the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament in New York, in this Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, file photo. The two singles champions at this year’s U.S. Open each will earn 35% less than in 2019, the last time the Grand Slam tennis tournament allowed spectators, while prize money for qualifying and the first three rounds of the main draw will rise as part of an overall increase. A year after banning fans entirely during the coronavirus pandemic and lowering prize money because of lost revenue, the U.S. Tennis Association announced Monday that it will be boosting total player compensation to a record $57.5 million, slightly more than the $57.2 million in 2019. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)
FILE - The U.S. Open logo is shown on the Arthur Ashe Stadium at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center during the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament in New York, in this Thursday, Aug. 27, 2020, file photo. The two singles champions at this year’s U.S. Open each will earn 35% less than in 2019, the last time the Grand Slam tennis tournament allowed spectators, while prize money for qualifying and the first three rounds of the main draw will rise as part of an overall increase. A year after banning fans entirely during the coronavirus pandemic and lowering prize money because of lost revenue, the U.S. Tennis Association announced Monday that it will be boosting total player compensation to a record $57.5 million, slightly more than the $57.2 million in 2019. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Players at the U.S. Open will have access to licensed mental health providers and quiet rooms as part of an initiative announced Tuesday 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.”

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

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