Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka said she has never been more excited for a year to be over. In 2021, Osaka revealed her battle with anxiety and depression. Osaka took a two-month break from tennis after abruptly pulling out of the French Open.
"I’ve never been more excited for a year to be over," Osaka tweeted. After suffering a surprise loss in the US Open third round, Osaka admitted winning matches wasn't making her happy anymore. "How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently, like, when I win I don't feel happy,” Osaka said shortly after her US Open exit.
“I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don't think that's normal." Osaka didn't play any events in the rest of 2021 after the US Open. "Basically, I feel like – OK.
Hmm, this is very hard to articulate. Basically, I feel like I'm kind of at this point where I'm trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don't know when I'm going to play my next tennis match," Osaka said.
Maria Sharapova showed support for Osaka
Sharapova, a former world No. 1, praised Osaka for publicly speaking about her mental health and urged everyone to support the Japanese. "We all need to be incredbily supportive of athletes who are going through tough times in their careers.
Naomi is an incredbile athlete and a beautiful human being, who has a very long career ahead of her," Sharapova said of Osaka. "We all need to respect the decisions that players make at times of vulnerability, when they're feeling down or not playing their best tennis.
To be honest, not many people know what's going on behind-the-scenes and how players feel. You only see the tennis game and what happens on the court. "The more support that we can provide, the better they will be and the better that they will play."