Naomi Osaka Says She Doesn't Know If She'll Play Tennis Again09/04/2021
After losing her third match to Leylah Fernandez at the U.S. Open on Friday night, Naomi Osaka dropped a major bombshell and revealed that she might be taking an indefinite break from competitive tennis.
During a press conference, Osaka began to sob while discussing her future in the sport, admitting that it no longer brought her joy. "I feel like for me recently, like, when I win, I don't feel happy," she said. "I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don't think that's normal." Fighting back tears, she continued, "Basically I feel like I'm kind of at this point where I'm trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don't know when I'm going to play my next tennis match."
Crying, she abruptly concluded, "I think I'm going to take a break from playing for a while."
Back in May, Naomi withdrew from the French Open after making comments about her mental health and skipping out on post-match interviews. "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," she wrote on Instagram. "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." She noted that she's experienced depression in the past, as well as social anxiety and nervousness while public speaking.
Later, Osaka wrote an essay for Time, and thanked Meghan Markle and Michelle Obama, among others, for encouraging her to put her mental health first.
"I want to thank everyone who supported me. There are too many to name, but I want to start with my family and friends, who have been amazing. There is nothing more important than those relationships. I also want to thank those in the public eye who have supported, encouraged and offered such kind words," she wrote. "Michelle Obama, Michael Phelps, Steph Curry, Novak Djokovic, Meghan Markle, to name a few."
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