© by Gerald So | 3:30 AM
Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from this year's French Open after being fined for refusing to do mandatory news conferences. In two written messages, Osaka stated that doing press caused her to doubt herself, that she was self-conscious about public speaking, and that she battled social anxiety and depression.
I see media coverage as a reality of pro sports. You don't become a pro athlete and four-time Grand Slam champion like Osaka unless you have the mental toughness to beat the best competition, the same mental toughness that can help you face the press at the biggest events. That said, to regain the confidence and become more comfortable facing the press, her perception of the press has to change. She has to see media coverage as a golden opportunity to speak for herself and advance any causes she wishes. She may not want to make that change.
I can't say I've ever faced depression, but I have been nervous about public speaking and conscious of how others may perceive me. I became more comfortable the more I spoke. I realized it was best to forget the aspects of myself I couldn't control anyway, that each performance was unique, dynamic, not to be overthought. As a fan, I hope Osaka reaches that level of comfort.