Naomi Osaka expressed her gratitude towards the response she has received to her confession of dealing with depression and anxiety earlier this year.
“It has been really nice to feel supported not only by my family, team and brand partners but also by the fans and fellow athletes,” the tennis player told People magazine.
She added that she was “most surprised” to hear from people that “they, too, had been struggling but were afraid to speak up.”
“I never thought about speaking my mind as something that was difficult. I really just wanted to express my true feelings and be honest with not only myself but to others about struggles. The more we can all be open the more we can help each other be better,” she told the outlet.
Osaka created a stir when she withdrew from French Open in May this year. The decision came after she refused to participate in the post-match press conferences citing mental health concerns. She confessed to suffering from depression since winning the US Open in 2018.
In June, she withdrew from Wimbledon to take “personal time with friends and family” before the Tokyo Olympics.
Osaka was praised by fellow athletes and the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, among other people for prioritising her mental health over everything else.