Naomi Osaka has received tons of love for speaking out about mental health. Now, tennis icon Billie Jean King is adding her own words of support to the 23-year-old.
King, 77, and Osaka sat for an interview for Racquet Magazine’s Players‘ Lounge with Nick Kyrgios and Mardy Fish.
Osaka opened up about being vocal when it comes to mental health, “After my first Slam, I was supposed to be the good girl. But now that I’m talking about stuff that bothers me, I think it’s confusing a lot of people. I honestly don’t know what people think about me.”
King, who was famously outed for being gay, told Osaka, “Everyone loves you guys. They listen to you guys, and I think it’s great when you talk and talk about your feelings. Kids need that. When I was outed in ’81 for being gay, I lost everything in 24 hours. You guys can talk about these things and you’re celebrated.”
Watch the full discussion, here.
This past May, Osaka announced that she was withdrawing from the French Open and cited the bouts of anxiety with press interviews. In June, she also withdrew from Wimbledon before competing at the Tokyo Summer Olympics. She only made it to the third round.
She also spoke about her mental health after winning the US Open in 2018.
The 23-year-old credits meditation, gaming, and listening to music to keep her “centered.”
And with the US Open kicking off in New York today (Aug. 30), she appears to be in great spirits as she seeks her third US Open title.
“I love playing at the US open as it brings me back to Queens, where I grew up training and it feels like I am always coming back to a place with great memories,” she says.