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.
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.