“That Touches You”: Star Rugby Player Pays Homage to Naomi Osaka

Published 10/25/2021, 8:00 AM EDT
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 14: Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates after winning match point in her Women’s Singles fourth round match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain during day seven of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 14, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)


Japanese sensation Naomi Osaka has always been outspoken on her perspectives on mental health. The 24-years old withdrew from this year’s French Open and Wimbledon Championships, citing her mental health concerns. Following her withdrawal, many athletes came out in support of Osaka.

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She received some tremendous support from athletes across the world on prioritizing mental health. Recently, South African rugby player Siya Kolisi also praised Naomi Osaka for spreading awareness regarding mental health.

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South African Rugby player lauds Naomi Osaka

The four-time Grand Slam champion, Naomi Osaka has been a foremost advocate for spreading the knowledge on mental health. By pulling out from two Grand Slam events from this year, she has surely remarked a bold statement.

Aug 30, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates after recording match point Marie Bouzkova of Czech Republic in the first round on day one of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

In an interview, talking on mental health, Kolisi stated, “I took so much from Osaka. For her to stand up and say ‘listen, I’m not OK’… that makes me feel OK about not feeling OK sometimes. To hear someone that you look up to and someone that you watch, that touches you.”

He continued, “It makes me feel so good to know that it’s right for me to go through this kind of thing. We are trained to not show pain in the sport that I play. We are trained that when you get hurt, you must just get up and keep on moving forward and sometimes you take that literally.”

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Osaka’s indefinite break continues

After withdrawing from French Open and Wimbledon, Osaka decided to compete at Flushing Meadows. With not many efforts, the Japanese cruised into the third round of the competition. However, the eventual finalist, Leylah Fernandez, crushed the dreams of Osaka in straight sets.

Sep 3, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Leylah Fernandez of Canada, right, shakes hands with Naomi Osaka Osaka of Japan after a third round match on day five of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Following her defeat, Osaka took an indefinite break from tennis. Since then, the Japanese hasn’t released any statement on her comeback. Just recently, Osaka celebrated her 24th birthday with her close friends and family in Greece.

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DIVE DEEPER

How Can Naomi Osaka Qualify for WTA Finals?

about 1 month ago

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Atri Bhatt

372 articles

Atri Bhatt is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. He is pursuing his Master's degree in Sports Management from Deakin University, Australia. In addition to critically analysing the game, he also plays tennis professionally.

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