The tennis star opened up for the first time in July 2021 after mental health issues caused her to drop out of the French Open two months prior. In an essay published by Time, she wrote that she “felt pressure” to disclose her symptoms at the time and worried that people “did not believe [her].”
Osaka also mentioned that she thinks every athlete deserves “the right to take a mental break from media scrutiny on a rare occasion without being subject to strict sanctions.” After saying she wouldn’t do press for the French Open in May 2021, she received a $15,000 fine.
“In any other line of work, you would be forgiven for taking a personal day here and there, so long as it’s not habitual. You wouldn’t have to divulge your most personal symptoms to your employer; there would likely be HR measures protecting at least some level of privacy,” she wrote. “I feel uncomfortable being the spokesperson or face of athlete mental health as it’s still so new to me and I don’t have all the answers. I do hope that people can relate and understand it’s OK to not be OK, and it’s OK to talk about it. There are people who can help, and there is usually light at the end of any tunnel.”Back to top