Since her retirement from the French Open, calm has reigned around Naomi Osaka. Perhaps the best tennis player in the world at the moment is taking a breather after she no longer wanted to speak to the media in Paris out of concern for her mental health and predicted her exclusion from the tournament by her voluntary exit.
Osaka, who has struggled with depression since her first Grand Slam title at the 2018 US Open, Also cancels for Wimbledon, He wants to attack again at the Olympics in their home country. In the lead-up to the Games, she now offers insight into her spiritual life in the TIME magazine cover story.
“I didn’t want to start a revolution,” Osaka says, looking back at her Paris press conference interruption. Anyway, she maintains a good relationship with the media. “Compared to old stars like Novak, Roger, Rafa or Serena, I give the press more time,” she says. “But for me, press conferences are an old format that needs to be renewed: more objective, more one-on-one interviews. For many tennis journalists, press conferences are unfortunately a sacred cow.”
The press didn’t believe me.
But she boycotted press meetings due to her mental problems. “We must give the athletes the right to rest. In any other job, you can take a day off for no reason, as long as it does not become a habit. “But I had to disclose my symptoms because the press and the tournament didn’t believe me,” Osaka said.
It still feels uncomfortable as the face of all mentally challenged athletes. “It’s all new to me and I haven’t found all the answers yet. I hope people understand that it’s okay not to be unwell and that it’s okay to talk about it.”
Thanks to the support of her athletes, sponsors, and her personal environment, she can now look forward once again. “Tokyo’s expectation couldn’t be greater.” Olympic record champion Michael Phelps had a special message for Osaka: “He told me my descent would have saved my life. If it was true, it was all worth it.” (cm)
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