Cori Gauff has praised Naomi Osaka for opening up about her mental health issues as she feels the Japanese has helped other athletes in certain ways with that move..
During last year’s French Open, four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka opened up about battling depression and anxiety.
Since then, Osaka has become one of the biggest advocates for athletes’ mental health.
Osaka is one of the most popular female athletes in the world and her speaking about her mental health issues made it easier for others to open up and seek help.
“Watching her with mental health made a lot of athletes take a step back and realize that it’s OK to put certain things above our sport,” Gauff said, per The San Francisco Chronicle. “I feel like we were used to being told that was wrong. So, it was nice to see her and Simone Biles put mental health first. I’m glad that she’s a representation of tennis, a representation of our sport. I always like seeing her. When I lost to her in Cincinnati (last year), I told her, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing.’”
Gauff on her social activism
Gauff, one of the brightest talents in American tennis, admitted she was “nervous” before publicly speaking about the Black Lives Matter movement.
“I was one of the first tennis players to speak about Black Lives Matter on social media and I remember having a conversation with my dad before posting, and he was very nervous for me to put anything up,” Gauff said. “Because you know tennis is predominantly a white sport.”
Meanwhile, both Gauff and Osaka are starting their summer on hard courts this week at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose.
Gauff, 18, is making her debut on the hard courts of San Jose.
In the first round, 11th-ranked Gauff takes on Anhelina Kalinina.