If you’re upset with Naomi Osaka for withdrawing from the French Open, you haven’t been listening

Naomi Osaka's brave struggle with her mental health is bigger than press obligations. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka has been telling us for a while that she was uncomfortable at best and suffering at worst.

She said in a December 2020 “Vogue” cover story that she felt like she would start shaking when she had to speak in front of a crowd. She revealed nearly 13 months ago that she’d been missing out on some things because of her extreme shyness. Three years ago she openly alluded to media that she was in the midst of a depressive episode after losing a clay court match.

And if she wasn’t flat-out telling us, it was pretty clear from just watching her when she had to be in front of a microphone and cameras that she was itching to be anywhere else.

So why is anyone surprised Osaka dropped out of the French Open?

And, most importantly, why is anyone demonizing her now?

Her withdrawal on Monday was the culmination of a turbulent few days that began when she announced that in the interest of self-care and her own well-being, she wouldn’t be doing media conferences during the tournament.