By: Poelano Malema
Naomi Osaka is one of the highest paid women in Tennis.
She is currently the Tennis World Number 2.
But, the star has been battling with depression since 2018.
She opened up about her struggle on Twitter after she announced that she will be boycotting the media.
Osaka wrote about how she always has to deal with anxiety when it comes to speaking to the press.
“I’m writing this to say I’m not going to do any press during Roland Garros,” she wrote on Twitter last week.
The star spoke about how attending press conferences sparked her mental health issues.
“I’ve often felt that people have no regard for athletes’ mental health and this rings true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one. We are often sat there and asked questions that we’ve been asked multiple times before or asked questions that bring doubt into our minds and I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me,” she wrote.
Sadly, she wrote that refusing to do the press conferences will result in her facing a fine.
“Me not doing press is nothing personal to the tournament and a couple journalists have interviewed me since I was young so I have a friendly relationship with most of them. However, if the organisations think that they can just keep saying, ‘do press or you’re gonna be fined’ and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centerpiece of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh,” she said.
She added that she hopes the money she is fined will be donated to charity.
“I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity,” she wrote.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 26, 2021
Her post sparked debate on social media with some accusing her of causing distraction to the French tournament.
Osaka addressed this in an Instagram post.
“I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer,” she wrote.
“The truth is I have suffered bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”
“In Paris, I was already feeling vulnerable and anxious so I thought it was better to exercise self-care and skip the press conferences. I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite out-dated in parts and I wanted to highlight that,” she wrote.
Lastly, she announced that she will be taking time off.
“I am going to take some time away from the court now.”
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) May 31, 2021