With the French Open in full swing, four time Grand Slam winner, Naomi Osaka has suddenly withdrawn from the tournament. The tennis star, has been missing press conferences and was facing a possible disqualification or suspension, if her behavior continued. Osaka was fined $15,000 after refusing to speak with reporters following her win during the first round at the Open. On Monday, she then removed herself from the tournament all together. Osaka took to her Twitter account to explain that she has been suffering from “long bouts of depression and social anxiety”. The No.2 ranked tennis player revealed that she has been experiencing these mental health bouts since the US Open back in 2018.So
The Grand Slam administrators responded to Osaka’s sudden departure by pledging to address players’ who may be struggling with their mental health. The Grand Slam released a statement, which said the following:
The mental health of players competing in our tournaments and on the Tours is of the utmost importance to the Grand Slams…We individually and collectively have significant resources dedicated to player well-being. In order to continue to improve however, we need engagement from the players to understand their perspective and find ways to improve their experiences. Every year we seek to deliver better experiences to our fans, our players and our people, and we have a long and successful track record in achievement on this count.SOURCE: ROLAND-GARROS
In addition that statement, another statement was released on Tuesday from tournament officials directly to what Osaka is going through.
On behalf of the Grand Slams, we wish to offer Naomi Osaka our support and assistance in any way possible as she takes time away from the court. She is an exceptional athlete and we look forward to her return as soon as she deems appropriate…Mental health is a very challenging issue, which deserves our utmost attention. It is both complex and personal, as what affects one individual does not necessarily affect another. We commend Naomi for sharing in her own words the pressures and anxieties she is feeling and we empathize with the unique pressures tennis players may face.SOURCE: ESPN
Naomi Osaka is most definitely not alone with battling mental health issues. According to sources,
Approximately 46.6 million people are living with mental illness in the US. That’s 1 in 5 adults who will be living with a mental health condition at some point in their lives… Among professional athletes, data shows that up to 35% of elite athletes suffer from a mental health crisis which may manifest as stress, eating disorders, burnout, or depression and anxiety.SOURCE: ATHLETES FOR HOPE
Identifying and addressing any mental health concerns is very important. Do not be ashamed or judged for seeking help. There are more resources than many know about. Normalize breaking the stigma of going to therapy. Support one another in your battles. Take time for self-care, that is the most important piece of advice that can be given. We are rooting for you Naomi! We are rooting for anybody dealing with any kind of mental health battles.