Naomi Osaka shared that on the morning of one of her Charleston matches she woke up questioning the meaning of her life and thinking if she should walk away from the game and buy a farm. Just before her 22nd birthday, Osaka became a Grand Slam champion at the 2018 US Open after beating Serena Williams.
Shortly after, Osaka landed lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals and also lifted her second Grand Slam title at the 2019 Australian Open and became the world No 1 in 2019 January. Before Osaka became a major star, she was battling doubts and experiencing depression.
But even after accomplishing the biggest success in tennis, Osaka’s problems with depression and anxiety didn’t go away. “I just woke up one day in Charleston before one of my matches thinking what is the point of my life. I was thinking, should I just go buy a farm and grow crops.
And then I had to go play my match and I was thinking in my head – like, wow, I hope this girl beats me so I don’t have to be here anymore,” Ben Rothenberg wrote in Naomi Osaka: Her Journey to Finding Her Power and Her Voice, via The Daily Mail.
Osaka opened up about her battle with depression and anxiety in 2021
Prior to the start of the 2021 French Open, Osaka announced she would not be conducting mandatory press conferences. After winning her first-round match and facing a backlash and being threatened with expulsion from the tournament, Osaka decided to withdraw from the tournament and go public with her battle with depression and anxiety.
After Osaka decided to publicly speak about her mental health issues, she received support from fellow players and tennis legends. Since then, Osaka has become a major advocate for athletes’ good mental health, with some athletes from other sports crediting the Japanese tennis star for helping athletes become more open about their mental health problems.
Source: Tennis World USA