Naomi Osaka Takes Home the ESPY for Best Female Athlete

 

 

Naomi Osaka, in her first public appearance since withdrawing from the French Open and Wimbledon, accepted the award for “Best Athlete, Women’s Sports” at last night’s ESPY Awards. Osaka, who has been open about her struggles with social anxiety and depression, gave a short speech in which she acknowledged that this year has “been really tough for a lot of us.” She continued, “I just want to say, I really love you guys and this is my first ESPYs so it’s really cool to be surrounded by all these incredible athletes. I think all of you guys are really cool and I watch some of you on TV so it’s really surreal to be here and yeah, thank you so much and I really appreciate it.”

Osaka withdrew from the French Open back in May after stating she would not be attending press conferences due to mental-health concerns. Tournament officials then threatened to expel her and fined her $15,000 for not participating in press responsibilities. In June, Osaka also withdrew from Wimbledon. Numerous athletes offered their support to Osaka following her withdrawals, including Serena Williams and Steph Curry, who wrote on Twitter, “You shouldn’t ever have to make a decision like this — but so damn impressive taking the high road when the powers that be don’t protect their own.”

Osaka expanded on her decision with an open letter in Time magazine earlier this month, writing, “In any other line of work, you would be forgiven for taking a personal day here and there, so long as it’s not habitual. You wouldn’t have to divulge your most personal symptoms to your employer; there would likely be HR measures protecting at least some level of privacy.” She revealed that she opened up about her mental health because she was “under a great amount of pressure to disclose my symptoms — frankly because the press and the tournament did not believe me.”

 

Naomi Osaka Takes Home the ESPY for Best Female Athlete

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