It's common for athletes to experience mental health struggles but it's uncommon for them to speak about it publicly and risk their careers. Japanese professional tennis player, Naomi Osaka, recently tweeted about her reason for withdrawing from the French Open due to concerns over her mental health after being threatened to be expelled from the tournament and fined $15,000.
Michael Phelps, who went public with his struggles and became a strong mental health advocate in sports told Time, after reading Osaka's post:
I felt very happy after reading her message because she’s showing that vulnerability, she’s showing a side of her that we haven’t seen before, and that’s so powerful...It’s definitely going to be a game-changer in mental health moving forward.
It commendable seeing fellow athletes from across the sports spectrum publicly show their support for Osaka at a time that needs the conversation to move forward.
NBA star Steph Curry tweeted:
You [shouldn't] ever have to make a [decision] like this-but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be dont protect their own. major respect.
Seven-time Formula 1 British race driver champion and activist Lewis Hamilton told Autoweek how he felt about Osaka's statement:
I think she's an incredible athlete and human being, and her activism has been just so impactful—and at such a young age with so much weight on her shoulders.