Naomi Osaka Tells Time Magazine, ‘It’s OK To Not Be Ok’ & Opens Up About Mental Health

After Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open a few weeks ago to take care of her mental health, it sparked controversy.

Fans showered Naomi with love for her choice, but some critics had their opinions. However, Naomi addressed people who may have been confused about her decision in a letter to Time. 

In the letter, she touched on misconceptions people have of her regarding the press. One of the reasons she withdrew from the French Open was their policy on athletes talking to the media. Before she exited, she received a $15k fine for not talking to the media. NY Times reports Naomi said she doesn’t like to speak to them all the time because she’s seen too many players break down and leave in tears. She said the process felt to her like “kicking a person while they are down.” In her letter to Time, she said

“I’ll say it again for those at the back: I love the press; I do not love all press conferences.” However, she went on to say that the format of it is outdated. Naomi said, “I believe that we can make it better, more interesting, and more enjoyable for each side. Less subject vs. object; more peer to peer.”

When talking about her mental health, she stands with her decision. Naomi said, 

“I communicated that I wanted to skip press conferences at Roland Garros to exercise self-care and preservation of my mental health. I stand by that. Athletes are humans. Tennis is our privileged profession, and of course, there are commitments off the court that coincide. But I can’t imagine another profession where a consistent attendance record (I have missed one press conference in my seven years on tour) would be so harshly scrutinized.”

She suggested that athletes should be given time to take care of their mental health without facing any criticism. 

Naomi also thanked the people supporting her, from her family/friends and celebrities like Michelle Obama, Michael Phelps, Steph Curry, Novak Djokovic, Meghan Markle, and more. 

In other news, LeBron James is producing a three-part Netflix documentary about Naomi and her tennis journey. It will be live on July 16. Will you be tuned in?