Japaneese tennis player Kei Nishikori has voiced his support for fellow compatriot Naomi Osaka. Osaka, ranked at No. 2 in the world, revealed prior to the French Open that she would not be participating in press conferences at Roland Garros due to her mental health wellbeing.
Osaka played her first round match on Sunday and did an on-court interview afterward but refused to do a press conference. On Monday, Osaka pulled out of the French Open and revealed she has had bouts with depression since 2018 US Open.
“I have a mental coach and have been helped a lot, so I think seeing somebody like a mental coach or psychotherapist is necessary not only for athletes but for other people, and it’s quite common to see a therapist in the US,” Nishikori said after beating Karen Khachanov in the French Open second round.
Nishikori wishes Osaka a speedy recovery
“Everybody can suffer from mental issues, so I wish her speedy recovery, it would be nice for her to once stay away from tennis… I have many things to say, but let me pass this time, I’m too exhausted to have a clear head,” Nishikori added.
Osaka, a former world No. 1, didn’t want to be a distraction. “I think now 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,” Osaka said.
“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 trivialise 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.” It remains to be seen when will Osaka be ready to return to action.