Tokyo | Fans and Japanese personalities mobilized on Tuesday to support tennis star Naomi Osaka after her surprise withdrawal from the Roland Garros tournament and the revelation of her depressive state.
• Read also: Tennis: Naomi Osaka announces her withdrawal from Roland-Garros
The player’s career is followed closely in Japan and the controversy following her refusal to attend press conferences made headlines on Tuesday.
The reactions were dominated by hints of support, with one Twitter user asking Osaka to “take a good, long break.”
“I hope she can eat what she wants, watch what she wants and listen to what she wants. Hope she rolls up in a plush blanket and rests until she feels good. ”
On Monday, Naomi Osaka announced her withdrawal from Roland Garros, explaining that she had gone through long periods of depression since the 2018 US Open, her first Grand Slam, and “had a lot of trouble recovering”.
Osaka, who lives in the United States, is expected to represent Japan at the Tokyo Olympics this summer and, if she does, she will be one of the host nation’s most prominent Japanese sportswomen.
But Japanese fans urged her to take care of herself first. “I dare say she could pull out of the Tokyo Olympics,” one Twitter user wrote. “It’s disappointing, but I hope she will take her time and recover.”
Others praised Osaka’s frankness on his sanity, a topic rarely addressed by public figures in Japan. Former tennis player Ai Sugiyama told a morning show that she hoped Naomi Osaka’s actions could be “an opportunity to talk about the mental health of athletes,” the daily reported. Sports Hochi.
Some Twitter users have questioned whether Osaka is feeling the pressure to compete for titles and speak out against racial injustice.
“Naomi Osaka is fighting – against herself, against pressure, against fixed ideas, against discrimination,” TV presenter Ruriko Kojima tweeted.
“All of these things surely cause her anxiety,” she said, adding, “I hope she has time to laugh and relax.”