Naomi Osaka has opened up about how her ‘extremely self-deprecating’ personality has influenced her over the years as she swore to celebrate herself and her many accomplishments ahead of the US Open.
The Japanese tennis star, 23, took to Instagram on Sunday — the day before the tournament — to share an emotional statement about changing her mindset after a three-year battle with anxiety and depression that followed her win at the US Open of 2018 at Serena Williams.
Osaka recently suffered a disappointing third round loss at the Tokyo Olympics, her first international competition since she retired from both the French Open and Wimbledon earlier this year to focus on her mental health.
“I’ve been thinking for the past year. So grateful for the people around me because the support I feel is totally unparalleled,” she wrote. “Lately I’ve been wondering why I feel the way I do, and I realize one of the reasons is that inside I think I’m never good enough.”
Raw: Naomi Osaka (pictured practicing for the US Open) shared an emotional statement on Sunday about changing her mindset after a three-year battle with anxiety and depression
Difficult to deal with: The 23-year-old Japanese tennis star explained that she has an “extremely self-deprecating” personality, often telling herself “I suck” or “I could do better”
The four-time grand slam champion admitted she never congratulated herself on ‘a job well done’. Instead, she tells herself, “I’m bad” or “I could do better.”
“I know some people have called me humble in the past, but when I really think about it, I think I’m extremely self-deprecating,” she explained. “Every time a new opportunity presents itself, my first thought is, ‘Wow, why me?’
“I think I’m trying to say I’m going to try and celebrate myself and my achievements more, I think we should all do that.”
Osaka went on to point out that people should focus on their performance throughout the day, no matter how small they seem.
“Did you get up in the morning and not put something off? Champion. Came up with something at work that you’ve been struggling with for a while? Absolute legend,” she wrote.
“Your life is yours and you should not value yourself by the standards of others.
In the spotlight: Osaka revealed she has struggled with bouts of depression and anxiety since beating Serena Williams at the US Open in 2018 (pictured)
Stressful: Osaka won the game 6-2, 6-4, but her win was overshadowed by the controversy that erupted over Williams’ on-court arguments with chair umpire Carlos Ramos of Portugal
“I know I give my heart to everything I can and if that isn’t good enough for some then I apologize, but I can’t burden myself with those expectations anymore,” she added.
“When I see everything that’s happening in the world, I feel like when I wake up in the morning, that’s a win. That’s how I come.’
In late May, Osaka withdrew from the French Open after a stir over her decision not to participate in a press conference, with the tennis pro later citing her mental health problems as the reason behind her refusal to use media.
The tennis champion, who was fined $15,000 for failing to fulfill her media duties at Roland Garros, revealed she’s had “prolonged depression” since beating Williams at the US Open in 2018.
She won the game 6-2, 6-4, but her win was overshadowed by the controversy that erupted over Williams’ on-court feuds with chair umpire Carlos Ramos of Portugal, who fined her a series of fines.
Can’t: In late May, Osaka withdrew from the French Open (pictured) after an uproar over her decision not to participate in a press conference to protect her mental health
Candid: Osaka suffered a disappointing third round loss at the Tokyo Olympics last month, and she later admitted the pressure was too much to handle after her break from tennis
As a result of the drama on the pitch, Osaka found herself at the center of a media frenzy and has been in the spotlight ever since.
Speaking to reporters in New York on Friday ahead of the US Open, Osaka reflected on her withdrawal from the French Open last spring.
“Honestly, I feel like there are a lot of things I did wrong in that moment, but I’m also the type of person who is very in the moment,” she said. “Whatever I feel, I say it or do it. I don’t think that’s a bad thing per se.
“I think there are a lot of things I’ve learned to do better,” she added. “Of course I don’t feel like the same situation will happen again.
“I’d say maybe think it over again, in a way I didn’t know how important it was going to be.”
Opening up: Speaking to reporters in New York on Friday ahead of the US Open, Osaka reflected on her withdrawal from the French Open last spring, saying she had done many things “wrong.”
Prep: Osaka (pictured Friday in practice) defends her title at the US Open this week after beating Victoria Azarenka in last year’s final
The Olympics marked Osaka’s first return to court since she made the decision to leave both the French Open and Wimbledon due to struggles with her mental health.
Osaka, who represented her home country of Japan, had gone to Tokyo as a favorite to win the gold medal, especially after Williams made the decision to withdraw from the competition amid concerns over COVID-19 and athlete safety.
However, her medal dreams were quickly dashed when she was defeated by Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets, with the Czech player taking her first 6-1 set win in just 24 minutes.
After the game, she admitted that the pressure of the Olympics had become too much for her.
‘I feel like I should be used to it’ [the pressure] now,” she said. “But at the same time, the scale of everything has been a little difficult because of the break I’ve taken. I’m glad I didn’t lose in the first round at least.’