“It’ll Actually Disappear”: Billie Jean King Hails Naomi Osaka’s Bravery for Revealing Mental Health Issues

Published 08/18/2021, 7:00 AM EDT
Tennis -WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – May 12, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her second road match against Jessica Pegula of U.S. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane


Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has been going through a rough past few months. Just before the French Open this year, she mentioned that she would not take part in any post-match press conferences. However, that decision received mixed reactions from people associated with the sport. 

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Recently, Billie Jean King spoke about Naomi Osaka’s revelation of her mental health struggles. She saw the brighter side and found it brave on the youngster’s part to own up to her struggles. If one needs to overcome a weakness, one should own up to it to get the better of it.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

The 77-year-old legend spoke on this and stated, “I’m glad that Osaka brought up mental health…. How someone feels emotionally is so important.”

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“To own it by naming it, when you name something you say I’m having a challenge whether it’s an alcoholic or I have an eating disorder or I have mental challenges or whatever, when you own it, it’ll actually dissipates a little and then you have a chance to make it okay.”

Naomi Osaka won her fourth Grand Slam in 2021

Reflecting on Osaka’s season so far, she began the year on a great note, winning her second Australian Open title. After that, things started descending for the Japanese star. 

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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 12: Naomi Osaka of Japan returns the ball in the second set during her Women’s Singles final match against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus on Day Thirteen of the 2020 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 12, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

She then competed at the French Open but because of the off-court controversies, she withdrew herself from the tournament before her second-round match. The former World No. 1 then decided to skip the Wimbledon Championships.

After that, she competed in the Tokyo Olympics. However, she lost in the initial rounds and did not end up winning a medal. She is currently in Cincinnati competing in the final event before the US Open begins. We wish her the best of luck for the upcoming matches. 

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Rohan Kollare

1063 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and 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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