Sometimes a few words of encouragement are enough to lift people’s spirits and help them get back on track. Perhaps that’s what Meghan Markle’s words did for tennis star Naomi Osaka.
Recently, Naomi Osaka penned down an essay for TIME thanking a few renowned faces for supporting her decision to withdraw from the French Open due to mental health issues. In the piece, she explained why she wanted to avoid press conferences and how her request caused a stir in the sports world.
A peek inside Osaka’s essay
In the heartfelt essay, Osaka acknowledged each and everyone who supported her during the most stressful period of her life. She joked that if she called them out by name, the list would go on forever, which is why she was restricting it to a few special ones.
The four-time Grand Slam Singles champion started by thanking her parents and friends who’ve always had her back. She revealed that nothing in the world was more important than the bond she shares with them. She even gave a shout-out to a few famous personalities like Michael Phelps, Steph Curry, Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle, and Novak Djokovic for boosting her morale and backing her decision.
While concluding, she shared the message she received from Michael Phelps. The 23-year-old disclosed that Phelps said that her decision to voice her opinion might have helped save a life. To this, she responded, “If that’s true, then it was all worth it!”
Surprisingly, this wasn’t the first time Osaka and Markle have conversed with each other. Earlier in December 2020, when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released their first podcast on Spotify, Osaka appeared on it as a guest.
It all started in May 2021, when Osaka announced that she wouldn’t participate in any press conferences during the French Open to preserve her mental health. Later, when she won her first match, she was asked to pay a fine of $15,000 for not engaging with the media. Looking at the situation, she eventually decided to opt out of the tournament.
In a statement, she declared that she never wanted to be a distraction and admitted that the way and time she announced her decision was not correct. She continued that she should have been more cautious.
In the article, she mentioned how people in other fields were allowed to take a day off without disclosing the reason to their employer, but in her job, she felt immense pressure to reveal her problems just because the press and tournament weren’t ready to believe her.
Osaka wished that no one in any field should experience what she went through. The tennis player also urged people to find ways to protect athletes.
She emphasized that she doesn’t want to talk about her medical history in the future and even requested the press for some empathy and privacy whenever they interacted again.