I am completely wowed by how French Open organisers dealt with Naomi Osaka's decision to not do press after her first game. To penalize someone when they choose what is best for their mental health speaks more about the organisation and their disregard for how valuable one's mental health is. For those who are unaware tennis players are required to do press after each game as part of their contractual media obligations and Naomi stated she would wish not to do press citing mental health reasons and after her first game she skipped her press interviews and as a result, was fined $15,000. The four-time major champion announced on Twitter that she would not participate in any news conferences at the tournament. Announcing her subsequent decision to withdraw, she revealed that she has "suffered long bouts of depression" since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018.
Roland Garros said in a statement that Osaka had failed to honour her contractual media obligations and was fined under the tournament's Code of Conduct. The statement added that Roland Garros had "tried unsuccessfully to speak with her to check on her well-being" and that she was reminded that "rules should apply equally to all players."
I think this situation will undoubtedly be a moment that will change sports history and it is something the organisers of the tournament need to review because there is so much pressure to perform and to answer to your performance whether good or bad which honestly is a hard thing to do every single time. The way the organisers have acted clearly points out to their focus being about selling the sport and making money for the sport that they forget they need to also look after the very sportswomen and sportsmen who make the sport what it is.
We applaud Naomi's decision to accept her fine but also choose to not play in the French Open as a result in order to look after her mental health. In reflection, the following three points are what her decision is reminding us:
1. Only You Has The Best Interest For you
There is no one who cares for you as much as you and no one knows what you need more than you. Get in the habit to ensure you are participating in what is in the best interest of you and will not lead you to disintegrate to the point you lose yourself in the process.
2. Put Yourself First Especially Your Health
As much as wealth is important it can never be more valuable than your health and the wealth we seek requires us to be in a healthy state of mind both mentally and physically. If ever your health is compromised take time off to reset and realign yourself. Your health is indeed your wealth.
3. Be Honest It Is Freeing
We have so much admiration for Naomi choosing to speak her truth and live her truth. There is so much power when one operates in the truest highest form of themself because they no longer have to pretend and live a lie. We applaud her for explaining her reason for choosing not to play in this open and humanise situations that just because you're a four-time major champion doesn't mean one doesn't get overwhelmed or struggle with situations that in turn may affect your mental health.
Naomi has definitely fanned a flame and sparked others to be brave enough to choose themselves because they value maintaining their mental health. We also applaud the meditation app Calm who honoured Naomi's wish to have her fine donated to a mental health charity and they matched her fine of $15,000 and donated to a mental health charity in France. Let's all learn to choose ourselves for we will be all the better for it and those that agree with us will gravitate towards us, affirming that we are indeed doing the right thing.
Tomorrow night on the #SisterSpeaksShow which airs on www.freshmradio.com we will be discussing this topic further and sharing our views and what else we have learnt from Naomi so be sure to tune in from 10.00 pm EAT.