Naomi Osaka, the former World No. 1, has recently spoken up about her personal challenges. The Japanese tennis star talked about how she struggled with melancholy and couldn’t enjoy her sport for a spell.
She revealed after her exit from the US Open 2021 that she is unsure when she will play again. American Mardy Fish was another guy who struggled with mental health issues during his lifetime. The former player has now spoken out in support of Osaka’s choice.
Mardy Fish opens up about Osaka
Osaka took a risk by skipping press conferences at the 2021 French Open due to mental health concerns. She withdrew from the competition after receiving a lot of backlash for her decision.
After that, Osaka took a brief hiatus before returning for the Tokyo Olympics. She played another tournament before travelling to Flushing Meadows for the US Open after a disappointing season. She was under much more pressure as the reigning champion.
The 23-year-old cruised through the first few rounds until coming up against Leylah Fernandez, a young Canadian southpaw. After winning the first set, Osaka suffered a humiliating defeat. Mardy Fish had some counsel for her after she was knocked out.
“I would tell her Osaka, do whatever makes you happy. She doesn’t have to hit another tennis ball the rest of her life, and if that makes her happy, that’s what she should do. I think she would regret that, but it’s whatever makes her want to get up in the morning and be happy,” he said, according to reports on New York Times.
Mardy Fish has lately spoken out about his mental health, and there is even a Netflix documentary about it. He chatted with Naomi Osaka on the subject several times and gave some insightful advice for the four-time major winner.
“Whatever she’s been doing for the last couple of months, or however long it’s been, is not doing that for her right now. So hopefully she finds peace and comfort,” he further added.
“That last press conference was her being really open. I think it’s really important to put yourself first and what you feel is important to you and makes you happy, and hopefully tennis is in there for her.
“I think it is, I know she understands her place in history. But the stuff outside the court has gotten to her more than just wins and losses, and it’s unfortunate, but it’s important for her to make sure she feels comfortable again and happy again,” he concluded.
We expect Naomi Osaka to return to her winning ways as soon as possible. Above all, if she can stay joyful, she will be able to put her best foot forward. All’s well that ends well, as Osaka hopes to approach her next assignment!