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Naomi Osaka Just Took a Major Step To Protect Her Own Mental Health

The pandemic has been challenging for many in terms of mental health. Maybe that’s why in recent weeks, as restrictions start to ease, conversations around protecting and staying in tune with your state of mind has increased tenfold. Case in point: Michelle Obama speaking of her low-grade depression, while the UK’s youngest MP Nadia Whittome, who has represented the Labour party since 2019, getting signed off work with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

Now, tennis player Naomi Osaka has made a career move to preserve her mental health. “I’m writing this to say I’m not going to do any press during Roland Garros,” the four-time Grand Slam champion wrote on Instagram this week. “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.”

Naomi Osaka made it clear that it was “nothing personal” against the French tournament—which started on May 24—or journalists. She would just like to see some changes made around mental health. “We’re 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,” the 23-year-old continued. 

She believes being made to answer questions about game losses is like “kicking a person while they’re down,” writing, “I’ve watched many clips of athletes breaking down after a loss in the press room and I know you have as well.”

At several tennis tournaments, players are expected to speak to the press after each match or pay a fine. For Osaka, she just hopes the amount she’s fined will go towards a mental health charity. Tennis player Venus Williams summed it up perfectly, writing on Instagram: “Girl, do you. Your life is yours to live!”

This post was originally published on Vogue UK. 



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