“Can Impact Anyone”: Olympic Legend Applauds Naomi Osaka for Raising the Issue of Mental Health

Published 10/10/2021, 6:45 AM EDT
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 03: Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts against Leylah Fernandez of Canada during her Women’s Singles third round match on Day Five of the US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 03, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)


Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka has been in the news this year for many reasons. However, the one topic that garnered attention was when she spoke about mental health issues. She was a victim of it and decided to avoid being part of post-match press conferences. 

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Recently, former Olympic legend Ian Thorpe praised Naomi Osaka for coming out and revealing the problems she faced due to mental health issues. The retired former Australian swimmer felt that athletes are humans at the end of the day and they put in a lot of effort to be successful in their fields. 

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The 38-year-old spoke on this subject and stated, “I applaud her for showing people that mental health issues can impact anyone,’ he told the publication. It doesn’t matter how successful you see that person as being. Remember, athletes, put higher expectations on themselves than anyone else. We may be able to create these superhero-like efforts in performances – but we are humans at the end of it.”

Naomi Osaka went public with a bold revelation 

Just before the French Open could begin this year, Naomi Osaka revealed that she was facing some mental health issues and that she was going to avoid speaking to the media. Initially, her decision was not received well. However, with time, athletes from different sporting backgrounds voiced similar opinions, and mental health issues emerged as a growing concern.

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 03: Naomi Osaka of Japan looks dejected during her match against Leylah Fernandez of Canada in the third round of the women’s singles at the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 03, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Today on World Mental Health Day, one understands the importance of this issue. It is a delicate subject and can affect one and all. The amount of pressure on each individual in today’s competitive world can lead to these complications. Even with the increase in usage of social media, negative comments can take a toll on players.  

Coming to tennis, Osaka was last seen in New York at the US Open, Sadly, she was unable to defend her title. We wish her the best of luck for the remainder of the season and are looking forward to seeing her compete in the 2022 season. 

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Rohan Kollare

1197 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Rohan has studied Sports Management and has a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering Tennis and Formula One.

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