Professional athletes work hard to compete with their peers. To be the best, they must take care of their bodies, practice their sport, and stay both physically and mentally fit. Their job, after all, is to beat their competitors. But did you know that besides playing on the field, professional athletes must also talk to the media off the field? Whether they win or lose, professional athletes are expected to talk to the press after a game. Imagine a room full of cameras and journalists throwing questions at you about your performance. Now, if you love a big crowd and answering questions, that may be your favorite part of being a professional athlete. If you’re an introvert (or someone who likes quiet and alone time), talking to the media might cause you a great deal of anxiety.
Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka recently announced that she wouldn’t be talking to the media after her matches at the French Open (a major tournament). As a result, she was fined $15,000 by the tournament organizers. She countered that fine by withdrawing from the tournament altogether. By the way, if you don’t know who Naomi Osaka is, she’s currently ranked number two in the world of women’s tennis. Yes, she’s a big deal and when she withdrew from the French Open, it sent a message to the world that mental health is important. On Osaka’s Instagram page, she shares about her bouts of depression and anxiety before speaking to the press. By putting her mental health first, she’s making a grand statement: She’s important. Her mental health is important. And taking time off for self-care is important. We couldn’t agree more and support this ace decision. Thank you, Naomi, for showing the world that self-care should be a top priority.