Naomi Osaka Prioritizes Her Mental Health and Withdraws From the French Open

Celebs, athletes, and politicians are praising Osaka's decision.

naomi osaka
(Image credit: Tim Clayton - Corbis)

Tennis star Naomi Osaka has decided to prioritize her mental health and withdraw from the French Open. On May 31, Osaka opened up about her decision by stating that "the best thing for the tournament, the other players and my well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris."

She continues, "I never wanted to be a distraction and I accept that my timing was not ideal and my message could have been clearer. More importantly I would never trivialize mental health or use the term lightly. The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that."

Osaka is referring to her original statement on May 26, where she announced that she won't be participating in any press conferences during the French Open. In the statement, she references the tournament's mandatory rules regarding the press and how it affects athletes' mental health.

"If the organizations think that they can just keep saying, 'do press or you're gonna be fined,' and continue to ignore the mental health of the athletes that are the centerpiece of their cooperation then I just gotta laugh," she wrote. "Anyways, I hope the considerable amount that I get fined for this will go towards a mental health charity."

Upon the release of Osaka's statements, celebrities, athletes, and politicians have praised the 23-year-old for setting boundaries and leading the way for others who grapple with society's pressure to put your career above your mental health.

On the last day of Mental Health Awareness Month, Osaka couldn't have set a better example.


shenzhen, china october 26 naomi osaka of japan looks on with her coach and father leonard francois during a practice session ahead of the 2019 wta finals at shenzhen bay sports center on october 26, 2019 in shenzhen, china photo by lintao zhanggetty images

(Image credit: Lintao Zhang)

naomi osaka ybn cordae

(Image credit: Allen Berezovsky)
Rachel Epstein

Rachel Epstein is a writer, editor, and content strategist based in New York City. Most recently, she was the Managing Editor at Coveteur, where she oversaw the site’s day-to-day editorial operations. Previously, she was an editor at Marie Claire, where she wrote and edited culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also launched and managed the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game or finding a new coffee shop.