Naomi Osaka Has a Message For Critics: ‘I Can’t Burden Myself with Those Expectations Anymore’

After a year of self-discovery and prioritizing her mental health, Naomi Osaka is going into the US Open tournament with a brand new outlook.

The Japanese tennis star shared her feelings in a soul-bearing Instagram post on August 29. “I’ve been reflecting over this past year. So grateful for the people around me because the support I feel is completely unparalleled,” she began the post, which also included a series of videos from recent tennis victories as well as moments from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics opening ceremony. “Recently I’ve been asking myself why do I feel the way I do and I realized one of the reasons is because internally I think I’m never good enough. I’ve never told myself that I’ve done a good job, but I do know I constantly tell myself that I suck or I could do better.”

The 23-year-old continued, “I know in the past, some people have called me humble. But if I really consider it I think I’m extremely self-deprecating every time a new opportunity arises, my first thought is, “wow, why me?”

While that may be shocking to hear coming from a four-time Grand Slam champion, Naomi Osaka has been more and more open about her mental health journey since stepping away from the French Open back in May. 

“I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m gonna try to celebrate myself and my accomplishments more, I think we all should,” Osaka continued. “You got up in the morning and didn’t procrastinate on something? Champion. Figured something out at work that’s been bugging you for a while? Absolute legend. Your life is your own and you shouldn’t value yourself on other people’s standards.”

She concluded, “I know I give my heart to everything I can and if that’s not good enough for some then my apologies but I can’t burden myself with those expectations anymore. Seeing everything that’s going on in the world I feel like if I wake up in the morning that’s a win. That’s how I’m coming.”

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