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Top athletes are also human and should be treated as such

Naomi Osaka highlights ignored problem of mental health

Mbuyiselo Botha Gender Imbizo

Punished for being human- the second-ranked woman in international tennis and the highest paid female athlete in world currently- Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open event on Monday last week after refusing to do mandatory media interviews, citing her mental health challenges as the reason for this move.

Osaka’s noncompliance landed her a R210,000 fine, prompting her to wholly withdraw from the tournament. She withdrew so that the focus would shift back to tennis at Roland Garros in Paris. Her announcement caused a media frenzy, one she was not expecting. Especially not one that came as a result of her being open and vulnerable about her mental health challenges. I think what anyone expects in such a scenario is empathy and space- not what this has currently turned to...

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