Renowned tennis superstar, Naomi Osaka made revelations about her mental health strains and also emphasized on her decision to exempt herself from participating in the French Open in an essay published on Thursday in Time magazine, saying “it’s O.K. to not be O.K.”
Osaka skipped Wimbledon and withdrew from the French Open after she was fined $15,000 and threatened with suspension for her refusal to appear at a tournament press conference. She elucidated that her decision to skip the press conference was to protect her mental health stated in her essay for TIME, which featured her on an Olympic-themed cover.
“I communicated that I wanted to skip press conferences at Roland Garros to exercise self-care and preservation of my mental health,” she said, noting the privilege of her profession. “I stand by that. Athletes are humans.” “Perhaps we should give athletes the right to take a mental break from media scrutiny on a rare occasion without being subject to strict sanctions,” she added.
“In any other line of work, you would be forgiven for taking a personal day here and there, so long as it’s not habitual.” Osaka also called for “sick days” in professional tennis and wrote about the “pressure” of unravelling her symptoms, saying she felt the press and French Open organizers “did not believe” her.”
“I do not wish that on anyone and hope that we can enact measures to protect athletes, especially the fragile ones,” she said.