Naomi Osaka says she received support from Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama after withdrawing from French Open

Naomi Osaka
(Image credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka is speaking out in a new essay focused on mental health, standing by her steps to "exercise self-care" while thanking Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama, and others for their support.

The tennis star in May withdrew from the French Open after she was fined $15,000 for skipping a mandatory news conference to focus on her mental health, and in an essay in Time published Thursday, she reflected on some of the lessons she learned. For one, she wrote that "you can never please everyone," pointing to the fact that "issues that are so obvious to me at face value, like wearing a mask in a pandemic or kneeling to show support for anti-racism, are ferociously contested."

In addition, though, Osaka said she's learned that "literally everyone either suffers from issues related to their mental health or knows someone who does," as affirmed by the messages she's received from a "vast cross section of people." Numerous people "in the public eye" like Michelle Obama, Michael Phelps, Steph Curry, Novak Djokovic, and Meghan Markle have expressed support and offered her "such kind words," she revealed.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Osaka went on to say she stands by her desire to skip press conferences during the French Open to "exercise self-care and preservation of my mental health," arguing the press conference format is "in great need of a refresh." She adds that she felt she was under "a great amount of pressure to disclose my symptoms" because "the press and the tournament did not believe me," something she doesn't wish "on anyone" else. While requesting "privacy and empathy," she calls for tennis players to receive a "small number of 'sick days' per year where you are excused from your press commitments without having to disclose your personal reasons."

After having time to "recharge," though, Osaka writes that she "could not be more excited" for the Tokyo Olympics. Read more at Time.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.