The 23-year-old pulled out of the French Open last month to take care of her mental wellbeing.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have been frank and honest about their own struggles with mental health owing to the pressures of the public eye.
Since stepping down as working royals and relocating to California, Harry and Meghan have spoken on numerous occasions about how public life has impacted their wellbeing – including Meghan’s candid revelations in the couple’s tell-all Oprah interview about her struggles with suicidal thoughts during her first pregnancy.
Just this week, in fact, Meghan and Harry called for fans to share their stories of compassion, writing on their Archewell website, ‘We believe that compassion can unleash incredible change across the world.’
So it only makes sense that Meghan would be among the prominent names to offer their support to 23-year-old tennis star Naomi Osaka, following her decision to withdraw from the French Open due to concerns for her mental wellbeing.
Osaka had refused to take part in press conferences and media interviews as part of the tennis tournament, prompting intense criticism and even a fine. She withdrew the next day, revealing that she had suffered bouts of depression and anxiety throughout her professional career.
Now, in a moving personal essay for TIME magazine, the tennis star has opened up about her decision to prioritise her mental health, and expressed her gratitude to those who offered their support.
‘I want to thank everyone who supported me. 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,’ Osaka wrote.
She went on to thank the high profile names who had reached out to her following the announcement, including fellow tennis pro Novak Djokovic and former First Lady Michelle Obama, writing: ‘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.’
Meghan is a known tennis fan, and regularly attended Wimbledon with sister-in-law Kate Middleton before moving back to the US.
The powerful essay also saw Osaka discussing the backlash her decision to take a break had received from some in the sporting world. ‘
Lesson one: you can never please everyone,’ she wrote. ‘The world is as divided now as I can remember in my short 23 years. Issues that are so obvious to me at face value, like wearing a mask in a pandemic or kneeling to show support for anti-racism, are ferociously contested. So, when I said I needed to miss French Open press conferences to take care of myself mentally, I should have been prepared for what unfolded.’