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The discourse around the mental well-being of individuals has increased a lot in the last few years. There has also been a rise in discussing the mental health of athletes in sports. Many athletes have managed to reap the benefits of it, Naomi Osaka being a prominent one. On the cusp of a comeback, she discussed the state of mental health in the sport.

Many tennis athletes have talked about their own mental well-being in the past few years. Since the conversation is becoming more open, many players have talked about their struggles with mental health in the past.

Naomi Osaka on mental health in tennis

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The four-time Grand Slam champion has been absent from the sport since January when she was expecting a child. She gave birth earlier in July, and a few weeks after that, she has been training for a comeback. Returning next year, Osaka gave an interview with Yahoo! Finance, where she talked about the state of mental health in tennis.

via Reuters

When asked if there had been any changes, she said, “I think definitely there has been. I know a couple of years ago, it didn’t really exist at all, so I’m really glad like tournaments are stepping up, organizations are stepping up, and it’s becoming a bit more of a comfortable topic to talk about. Because I know with athletes, sometimes you can see it as a weakness. But I’m really glad that it’s becoming a bit more open.”

She further said, “Honestly, I think just more people are talking about it, so I feel like the people that didn’t feel as comfortable or the people that didn’t really think that it was OK to talk about mental health are now talking about it and seeing that it’s acceptable too.”

Read More: Troubled by Mental Health Struggles Over the Years, Naomi Osaka Delves Deep Into the Different ‘Inner Voices’ That Dictate Her State of Mind

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Osaka often talks about her mental health and the importance behind it. However, she is not the only one who has talked about it in the sport.

Tennis stars on mental health

While Osaka has been the most outspoken on the matter, many other tennis stars have shared their view on the topic. Roger Federer stated in a 2022 interview that younger player has to deal with many difficulties, but they can’t talk about it because the media starts calling them weak. He further said that players are humans and not machines. Therefore, they should be given some respite.

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Nick Kyrgios is another player who has talked about his own mental health struggles and the importance of mental well-being. Venus Williams is a veteran who has outrightly stated that it has to come first for any player. A decade ago, such voices would not be raised, but the narrative is changing now, and players can now focus on another aspect of their health. 

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