Unless you’re a talent like Naomi Osaka, I don’t imagine it is possible to understand the pressure she is under. It’s unlikely any of us can imagine the hours she has put into the sport from an early age, and just what this means.
And now she has decided to withdraw from the French Open. For me this highlights a big problem we have in todays’ world, social media and the mainstream media.
And I’m going to attack the press.
If you are suffering from depression, mental health and you have the finances to be able to take time out. Then damn well do it!
I get so annoyed when I see high profile wealthy people bringing up their mental health woes, and then they continue down the same path. Not because I have any problems with them being open, this openness provides hopes for millions of people. But when they don’t step back and take time out. They’re not doing what’s best for them or their mental health.
When you are in the spotlight it probably feels like it is at least 10 times worse, but you have a unique choice most people do not have. You have the finances to take a step back and look after yourself.
Your team, your people should be putting you first, not trying to wring every cent out of you.
For lots of reasons, it is not possible to be a high profile person, continue to work and pick and choose who you do and don’t speak to. You can choose to take time out and your team, should be encouraging those choices.
Mental health is not a joke.
Depression is not a joke.
Anxiety is not a joke.
I honestly hope Naomi Osaka takes a step back, has a long break and evaluates what is important for her long-term health. I hope her team, sponsors and Tennis supports her.
I am alarmed when I hear people talking about the media and the press conferences. Yes, I am sure they are difficult at times, unpleasant and let us be honest. It all sounds like a bit of a snake pit. Removing this one aspect will not restore her mental health, a long break without the pressure of having to perform will be the best chances she has of getting back to full strength, and when she gets there. She may decide tennis isn’t worth it.
I hope she does what is best for her, and I hope she does it soon.