Naomi Osaka will always be the one who chooses her mental health over anything else. The Japanese-Haitian American tennis player more than once proves why mental health is paramount. Although the champion is amazing at her sport, she suffers from extreme anxiety and depression according to Los Angeles Times. Over 40 million adults in the U.S suffer from anxiety related disorders. According to Donovan Martin, 35% athletes suffer from some kind of mental health crisis. It is no surprise that brilliant players like Naomi experience the downsides of being great. Often, those who are gifted in any capacity are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
As you’ve probably heard, Osaka is one of the youngest successful tennis players. She is a multicultural athlete with a slaying record. Naomi started professional tennis in 2013. Since then, she continues her reign. According to Osaka, she is now a four-time Grand Slam Champion and the first Asian player to hold the number one rank. She holds the title for winning the US Open and the Australian Open twice.
Representing her home country, Japan, she is earning the title as one of the game’s all time greats. Naomi, 24, was born October 16, 1997 where she falls under the sun sign Libra.
Nevertheless, Naomi still battles anxiety as good as she is. Anxiety does not have a face or favorite. Any person can feel the effects of anxiety, even when you’re a record breaking minority woman tennis player. Mental illness stigmas leave sufferers voiceless; however, brave souls like Naomi silence the giant in the room.
Last summer, Osaka skipped French Open press conferences to take care of her mental health. As a result, she is fined $15,000 along with other hefty disqualification threats for dodging media. The athlete becomes the first athlete to advocate for mental health awareness, publishing an article in Time Magazine, “It’s O.K Not to be O.K.” The article is an open letter to mental illness sufferers. Through it all, she continues her reign.