Tennis star Naomi Osaka was in tears while addressing a press conference at the Cincinnati Masters.
Osaka heard a question from a journalist, and got emotional and started crying. The video conference call had to be put on hold for a while as Osaka regained composure. She answered the question shortly thereafter.
The 23-year-old’s withdrawal from the French Open after refusing to sit for press conferences was met with huge backing. The reason for her decision then was the protection of her mental health. At the Cincinnati Masters, she said she stood by that decision while speaking to journalists.
“It felt like something I needed to do for myself. I felt like I holed up in my house for a couple of weeks and was a little bit embarrassed to go out.
“The biggest eye-opener was going to the Olympics and having other athletes come up to me and say they were really glad I did what I did,” she concluded her answer to the question.
After her stand in Paris, the four-time Grand Slam champion withdrew from Wimbledon as well. She returned to action at the Tokyo Olympics, where she exited in the third round of the tournament.
Not backing down
Osaka was initially fined for not addressing the media after her match at the French Open. Later, the committee members told her that she could be looking at expulsion from the tournament if she continued to dodge the media and press conferences. However, in a defiant and brave stance, Osaka chose to withdraw from the tournament altogether, citing mental health issues and her will to get over them.
Osaka’s actions drew support from almost everyone, and even some eminent sports personalities. By doubling down on her stance and actions, she is sending a great message to the world, that mental health is a serious affair and should not be neglected.