Naomi Osaka hired therapist after Indian Wells heckling incident

Naomi Osaka stated she determined to hunt remedy after her household was involved about her tearful message this month at Indian Wells following a heckling incident.

“I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this, but I finally started talking to a therapist after Indian Wells,” Osaka stated Wednesday on the Miami Open, after she defeated Astra Sharma in two units to advance to the second spherical.

“It only took like a year after the French Open [to talk to a therapist],” Osaka stated, referencing her withdrawal final May from Roland Garros to are inclined to her psychological well being.

She additionally skipped Wimbledon final July. At the time, Osaka stated she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since profitable her first Grand Slam title in 2018.

“I realize how helpful it is,” Osaka stated Wednesday about speaking with a therapist. “I’m glad that I have people around me that told me to go in that direction.”

Osaka stated she determined to hunt remedy after her sister Mari, a former skilled tennis participant, “seemed very concerned for me.”

Osaka was the goal of heckling on the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, Calif., throughout her March 12 match in opposition to Veronika Kudermetova. She grew to become rattled after a fan yelled, “Naomi, you suck!” and she or he in the end went on to lose the match in straight units.

The incident led to Osaka tearfully addressing the gang over a microphone afterward, and she or he recalled a previous incident at Indian Wells, when Serena Williams was booed throughout a match in 2001.

Osaka stated Wednesday, “I think for me, the situation in Indian Wells, I’ve kind of thought back on it. I realize I’ve never been heckled. I’ve been booed, but not like a direct yell-out kind of thing. It kind of took me out of my element. I feel like I’m prepared for it now. I was kind of bracing myself before the match to just know that’s a thing that could happen now. I think I just needed to change my mindset a little.”

Naomi Osaka speaks to WTA Supervisor Claire Wood after being heckled during her match in Indian Wells, Calif.
Naomi Osaka speaks to WTA Supervisor Claire Wood after being heckled throughout her match in Indian Wells, Calif.

Last September, Osaka introduced that she was taking a break from tennis “for a while.” She returned to the game in January to compete within the Melbourne Summer Set. 

The four-time main winner later pulled out of her Melbourne Summer Set semi-final in opposition to Kudermetova, and said at the time that her “physique obtained a shock from enjoying back-to-back intense matches“ after her four-month hiatus. 

Osaka will subsequent face Germany’s Angelique Kerber within the second spherical of the Miami Open.

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