Meghan Markle was among those who supported Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka has thanked Meghan Markle, Michelle Obama and Novak Djokovic for their support after her withdrawal from the French Open.
The Japanese star, who has won four Grand Slam titles, also confirmed she had suffered from ‘long bouts of depression’ since winning her first major in 2018.
Many sports stars backed Osaka’s stance at the time and she has now wrote in a blog for TIME that she hopes she has shown that ‘it is OK to be not be OK.’
The 23-year-old also thanked the likes of Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, former first lady Michelle Obama, tennis world number one Novak Djokovic, Olympics legend Michael Phelps and basketball star Stephen Curry for their support since the backlash over her French Open exit.
‘I want to thank everyone who supported me,’ the former US and Australian Open champion said.
‘There are too many to name, but I want to start with my family and friends, who have been amazing. There is nothing more important than those relationships.
‘I also want to thank those in the public eye who have supported, encouraged and offered such kind words.
‘Michelle Obama, Michael Phelps, Steph Curry, Novak Djokovic, Meghan Markle, to name a few. Furthermore, I am eternally grateful to all my partners.
‘Although I am not surprised as I purposefully chose brand partners that are liberal, empathetic and progressive, I am still tremendously thankful.
‘After taking the past few weeks to recharge and spend time with my loved ones, I have had the time to reflect, but also to look forward.
‘I could not be more excited to play in Tokyo. An Olympic Games itself is special, but to have the opportunity to play in front of the Japanese fans is a dream come true. I hope I can make them proud.
‘I feel uncomfortable being the spokesperson or face of athlete mental health as it’s still so new to me and I don’t have all the answers.
‘I do hope that people can relate and understand it’s O.K. to not be O.K., and it’s O.K. to talk about it. There are people who can help, and there is usually light at the end of any tunnel.
‘Michael Phelps told me that by speaking up I may have saved a life. If that’s true, then it was all worth it.’