Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has advocated and prioritized mental health throughout her career. The latest example comes following a heckling incident at Indian Wells earlier in March.
After defeating Australian Astra Sharma 6-3, 6-4 in her first-round match at the Miami Open on Wednesday, Osaka gave an update on how she was feeling. She revealed that she has started seeing a therapist in light of the heckling incident at Indian Wells.
“I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but I finally started talking to a therapist after Indian Wells,” Osaka said, according to CNN. “It only took like a year after French Open … I realize how helpful it is. I’m glad that I have people around me that told me to go in that direction.”
Here’s more of what Osaka said about how Indian Wells affected her, via CNN:
“I think for me, the situation in Indian Wells, I’ve kind of thought back on it. I realize I’ve never been heckled. I’ve been booed, but not like a direct yell-out kind of thing. It kind of took me out of my element. I feel like I’m prepared for it now. I was kind of bracing myself before the match to just know that’s a thing that could happen now. I think I just needed to change my mindset a little.”
The 24-year-old star said her decision was influenced by her sister, Mari Osaka, who “seemed very concerned for me.”
“I feel like I’ve been trying a lot of different things because I tend to internalize things, and I also want to do everything by myself,” Naomi Osaka said.
She added that her coach Wim Fissette also advised her to see a therapist.
“He was like, ‘you hire a coach for tennis, for fitness. The mind is such a big thing. If you can get a professional to help you out .5 percent, that alone is worth it,'” Osaka recalled.
Osaka will face German Angelique Kerber in the second round at the Miami Open.