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20 Sep

Naomi Osaka Shares Why She Speaks On Mental Health,

Naomi Osaka Shares Why She Speaks On Mental Health,

(Photo by Robert Prange/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka is reminding those who athletes aren’t only meant to be seen, but they needs to be heard too.

The quilt star for the newest issue of Dazed magazine, Osaka opened up about her decision to talk up about essential issues corresponding to mental health and her support for anti-racism.

“I feel as high-level athletes, we’re accustomed to being trained to win in any respect costs, but actually there are more essential things in life, and it doesn’t define who we’re as people,” she told Dazed. “It’s an enormous change, but in addition quite subtle at the identical time.”

Osaka has all the time held a firm position with regards to protecting her mental health, even when it got here at a value. Last yr, the 24-year-old received a $15,000 effective when she pulled out from participating in post-match interviews throughout the French Open because she said they could be detrimental to the health of the players. Following her decision, she went on to voluntarily withdraw from competing within the Grand Slam tournament to “take a while away from the court” and prioritize her mental and emotional wellbeing. 

For the four-time Grand Slam champion, the turning point that sparked her advocacy got here within the wake of the racial reckoning of 2020 and the protests that got here with it. During that yr’s French Open, she was spotted wearing a group of masks with the names Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, George Floyd, Philando Castile, and Tamir Rice — most victims of police violence. “Looking back, I feel that was definitely the primary time I noticed that I had a voice, and it may very well be utilized in a positive way,” she shares. “I just went with my instincts.”

The tennis star went on to share that she is unbothered by the general public scrutiny that she receives from speaking up about matters that fall outside of her role as a rising sports figure and finds those stances to be outdated. Osaka is leading a recent generation of athletes who’re unapologetic about utilizing their platforms to share their stances on social issues, including the mental health crisis facing many on this country, and he or she won’t be deterred by critics. “It’s archaic and ignorant, nevertheless it doesn’t trouble me an excessive amount of now,” she explained. “To be upset at an athlete expressing an opinion is bizarre to me.”

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