Naomi Osaka said she is now excited to compete again at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics after spending weeks with loved ones to recharge and have time to reflect.
Fully charged and ready: In an essay for TIME magazine, the 23-year-old tennis player shed further light on why she stepped away from the game in May.
- Osaka explained she has an amazing relationship with the media but also emphasized that the format of the press conference is “out of date and in great need of a refresh.”
- “I communicated that I wanted to skip press conferences at Roland Garros to exercise self-care and preservation of my mental health,” Osaka said. “I stand by that. Athletes are humans.”
- She suggested players should be allowed to take a mental break “without being subject to strict sanctions.”
- Osaka then gave an example of how employees from other lines of work are forgiven for taking a personal day off without divulging their symptoms to their employers. Osaka, however, “felt under a great amount of pressure to disclose” her symptoms “frankly because the press and the tournament did not believe me.”
- After recuperating, Osaka said she is now excited to play at the Games, which she describes as “special.” She added, “But to have the opportunity to play in front of the Japanese fans is a dream come true. I hope I can make them proud.”
Other details: Osaka received a $15,000 fine after skipping the press conference for the French Open in May.
- She later announced she would be withdrawing from the French Open so that “everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris.”
- Osaka also withdrew from the Wimbledon championships last month due to personal reasons.
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