‘Watching Athletes Struggle for a While’ – Naomi Osaka Says Her Decision to Withdraw From the French Open 2021 Was to Protect Herself

Published 07/02/2022, 5:50 AM EDT
Mar 31, 2022; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Naomi Osaka (JPN) is overcome with emotion after her match against Belinda Bencic (SUI)(not pictured) in a women’s singles semifinal in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Sports have become extremely competitive in today’s day and age. With the advent of technology, the level of players across sports has constantly been on the rise. However, this level of competition has also had its side effects. It has taken a toll on the physical and mental health of athletes. Many players like Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles have opened up about their struggles with similar issues.

Further, take the example of four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka. The Japanese tennis star withdrew from last year’s French Open citing her mental health. She received the backing of fellow players on the tour, who also expressed their views on this matter. Recently, Osaka opened up on what led to her withdrawal from the French Open 2021.

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Naomi Osaka wanted to protect herself

During an interview, the 24-year-old detailed why she withdrew from the clay-court Grand Slam tournament after the first round. She said, “Of course, the goal was to protect myself, whether I knew it or not. I’ve been kind of watching athletes struggle for a while.”

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)
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Further, she revealed talking about mental health issues as an athlete, saying, “Yeah. So then, I kind of felt like, ‘Oh, I feel like we must not be allowed to have feelings, in a way.’ Just, like, kind of go out there, perform, and then go back in.”

Osaka announces her new partnership

Recently, the Japanese tennis star announced her new partnership with Victoria’s Secret. Osaka was thrilled to partner with this brand as she shared this news via a story on her official Instagram handle.

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WATCH THIS STORY: How Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams, and Others Travel

In the tennis front, Osaka is missing from the ongoing Wimbledon Championships owing to an Achilles injury. However, she hopes to come back strongly in the hard court season later this year.

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Vatsal Shah

991 articles

Vatsal Shah is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. With a Bachelor's degree in engineering, he is a die hard fan of tennis and sports in general. He is an ardent follower of Rafael Nadal and is inspired by his never-say-die attitude.

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