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Naomi Osaka’s sister opened up about the tennis star’s decision to avoid the media at the French Open on Sunday before the decision to opt out of the tournament was made.
Mari Osaka wrote a lengthy post on Reddit explaining that her sister was upset after her first-round loss in Rome at the Italian Open, and the notion she was bad on clay courts was getting to her. Mari Osaka explained that the strategy her sister took to cope with criticism was to block everything and everybody out.
“Naomi mentioned to me before the tournament that a family member had come up to her and remarked that she’s bad at clay. At every press conference she’s told she’s has a bad record on clay. When she lost in Rome r1 she was not ok mentally. Her confidence was completely shattered and I think that everyone’s remarks and opinions have gotten to her head and she herself believed that she was bad on clay,” Mari Osaka wrote. “This isn’t true and she knows that in order to do well and have a shot at winning Roland Garros she will have to believe that she can. That’s the first step any athlete needs to do, believe in themselves.
“So her solution was to block everything out. No talking to people who is going to put doubt in her mind. She’s protecting her mind hence why it’s called mental health. So many people are picky on this term thinking you need to have depression or some sort of disorder to be able to use the term mental health.”
Mari Osaka added she supported her sister but doesn’t know what the future holds for her.
“There is the argument that she can afford to skip while others can’t. What if they want to and she’s setting precedent so that they can in the future if wanted? When I lost my one wta matchup where I had to do a press conference afterwards I broke down in the room unfortunately and then saw headlines after of me, crying,” she added. “It was embarrassing and it’s forced on players. Some can take it and some struggle with it.”
She later deleted the Reddit post after receiving criticism from users.
Naomi Osaka announced her decision to withdraw from the French Open on Monday, citing mental health reasons.