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Naomi Osaka On Her Mental Health Break: "You Can Never Please Everyone"
Mental Health

Naomi Osaka On Her Mental Health Break: "You Can Never Please Everyone"

Naomi Osaka wrote an essay for Time about the "key lessons" she has learned since publicly declaring that she is prioritizing her mental health.

The four-time Grand Slam champion wrote in the piece, which was published Thursday, that her journey took an “unexpected path” and that she learned a lot after discussing her mental health openly.

“Lesson one: you can never please everyone,” Osaka wrote. “The world is as divided now as I can remember in my short 23 years, and issues that seem so obvious to me on the surface, like wearing a mask in a pandemic or kneeling to show support for anti-racism, are ferociously contested.”

“So, when I said I needed to miss the French Open press conferences to care for myself mentally, I should have been prepared for what happened,” she added.

[email protected] writes for TIME about putting mental health first: "It's OK not to be OK." https://t.co/JrE5bNsREw pic.twitter.com/brlu5Mmrw2 — TIME (@TIME) July 8, 2021

Osaka announced in May that she would not be doing any press at the French Open in order to protect her mental health, and she later withdrew from the tournament entirely, followed by a week-long withdrawal from Wimbledon.

In a statement posted to her Instagram in late May, the athlete discussed her struggles with mental health, writing that she had suffered "long bouts of depression" since the 2018 U.S. Open.

Many public figures praised her for having the courage to openly discuss her mental health issues, as well as for demonstrating the importance of self-care.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tweeted at the time, "I'm proud of you."

According to her Time essay, Osaka received a number of messages from people who were struggling with their own mental health.

“It has become clear to me that virtually everyone either suffers from or knows someone who suffers from issues related to their mental health,” she wrote.

She made it clear that her remarks about self-care were "never about the press" and that she had an "amazing relationship with media." However, she expressed hope that the press conference format could be improved, perhaps to allow athletes the "right to take a mental break from media scrutiny on a rare occasion without being subjected to strict sanctions."

“In any other line of work, you would be excused for taking a personal day here and there, as long as it wasn’t habitual,” she explained.

Osaka said she couldn't be "more excited" to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, which begin later this month.

Time will feature four different athletes on the covers of its latest issue, which goes on sale Friday: Osaka, track and field star Allyson Felix, WNBA player Sue Bird, and Paralympic triathlete Susana Rodrguez.

The first trailer for “Naomi Osaka,” a Netflix documentary series about Osaka, was released on Wednesday. The series, which will be available on the streaming service on July 16, was produced in collaboration with Uninterrupted, a media company and brand co-founded by LeBron James.

You can read the rest of Osaka's Time article here.

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