'Give Athletes the Right To Take a Mental Break': Naomi Osaka

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Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka is back in the spotlight after she withdrew from the French Open in May, citing mental health reasons.

Osaka has not played since then and also withdrew from the Wimbledon, which ends Sunday.

In an essay in the TIME magazine, Osaka wrote about her mental health, athletes' rights to take a mental break from media scrutiny and about the press conference format in need of a refresh.

"...This was never about the press, but rather the traditional format of the press conference. I’ll say it again for those at the back: I love the press; I do not love all press conferences," Osaka wrote.

However, in my opinion (and I want to say that this is just my opinion and not that of every tennis player on tour), the press-conference format itself is out of date and in great need of a refresh.
Naomi Osaka

"I believe that we can make it better, more interesting and more enjoyable for each side. Less subject vs. object; more peer to peer," Osaka said.

While one of the main concerns of the traditional tennis writers was that of setting a dangerous precedent, the intention was never to inspire revolt, but rather to look critically at our workplace and ask if we can do better, Osaka adds.

"Perhaps we should give athletes the right to take a mental break from media scrutiny on a rare occasion without being subject to strict sanctions."

The 23-year-old tennis star had earlier said she would skip media obligations during Roland Garros as they had a detrimental effect on her mental health.

The Japanese star went on to say that she had suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and had a really hard time coping with that.

She had further said that she is an introverted person and gets huge waves of anxiety before talking to the media.

Osaka will return to competition at the Tokyo Olympics, which open July 23.

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Topics:  Tennis   Mental Health   Wimbledon 

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