Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka changed her mindset this year and she suggested that nowadays she is finding happiness in simple things. Osaka, ranked at No. 2 in the world, drew lots of attention to herself when she announced she would not be doing press conferences at the French Open due to her mental health wellbeing.
After her first round win at the French Open and receiving lots of criticism, Osaka pulled out of the rest of the event and skipped the entire grass season. Osaka, who returned to action at the Tokyo Olympics, is now playing at this week's Cincinnati Masters.
After a first round bye, Osaka beat rising American star Cori Gauff 4-6 6-3 6-4. “I think some of you know what happened to me this year. I changed my mindset a lot. Even if I had lost I would have felt that I’m a winner.
There’s so much things going on in the world…. Just waking up in the morning is a win," Osaka said after the Gauff win, per We Are Tennis.
Osaka happy she inspired a movement
After Osaka pulled out of the French Open, mental health in sports became a popular topic.
"Yeah, I mean, I would say for me in that moment I wasn't really proud. I felt like it was something I needed to do for myself. More than anything, I felt like I holed up in my house for a couple of weeks, and I was a little bit embarrassed to go out because I didn't know if people were looking at me in a different way than they usually did before," Osaka said.
"I think the biggest eye-opener was going to the Olympics and having other athletes come up to me and say that they were really glad that I did what I did. So after all that, yeah, I'm proud of what I did, and I think it was something that needed to be done, yeah."