Naomi Osaka Withdraws From French Open, Shares Powerful Message About Mental Health & Social Anxiety
Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has officially announced her withdrawal from the French Open tennis tournament, as of Monday afternoon.
In a tweet published to her official account on Monday, the young tennis sensation told the world that she’d be stepping back from the game for a bit to focus on her own mental health and social anxiety issues.
Of course, as we previously reported, this all stems from Osaka’s earlier issue with not wanting to attend post-match press conferences. Suffering from social anxiety, she had previously been fined $15,000 and threatened with possibly being disqualified from the tournament if she chose not to go to her post-match press conferences.
Now, though, that point is moot, as she’s removed herself from the tournament under the auspices of self-care.
In her tweet, Osaka wrote (below):
“Hey everyone, this isn’t a situation I ever imagined or intended when I posted a few days ago. I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.
I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly I would never trivialise mental health or use the term lightly.”
And she continued from there:
“The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that. Anyone that knows me knows I’m introverted, and anyone that has seen me at the tournaments will notice that I’m often wearing headphones as that helps dull my social anxiety.
Though the tennis press has always been kind to me (and I wanna apologize especially to all the cool journalists who I may have hurt), I am not a natural public speaker and get huge waves of anxiety before I speak to the world’s media. I get really nervous and find it stressful to always try to engage and give you the best answers I can.”
She concluded with more, finishing with a flourish:
“So here 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 I announced it preemptively because I do feel like the rules are quite outdated in parts and I wanted to highlight that. I wrote privately to the tournament apologizing and saying that I would be more than happy to speak with them after the tournament as the Slams are intense.
I’m gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the Tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans. Anyways hope you are all doing well and staying safe, love you guys I’ll see you when I see you.”
Here’s the full message:
Honestly, good for her.
She’s approached this entire situation with what appears to be a remarkably mature, level, and realistic outlook on things — or, at least as much as she can considering she’s such a world-famous person representing a sport like tennis.
Still, mental health takes priority over post-match press conferences! Always has, always will, and if a superstar sensation has to leave the sport to make officials realize that, we’ve really lost it!
What do U think, Perezcious readers?! Sound off with your reactions here down in the comments (below)…
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