Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka showed her respect and appreciation for Serena and Venus Williams, stating the Williams sisters paved a way for Black female athletes.
The Williams sisters became all-time greats on the court but off the court they became recognizable for their activisim.
Both Serena and Venus have always been focused on making an impact on and off the court and Osaka applauds them for that.
“The Williams sisters were such trailblazers and tackled so many issues head on. As a black female athlete, I credit them for breaking down barriers for me,” Osaka told Self magazine.
Osaka on her mental health battle
12 months ago at the French Open, Osaka opened up about her battle with depression and anxiety.
“I just didn’t feel like I had to do things for others. I wanted to start listening to myself and doing things that I needed to do to protect my mindset,” Osaka said.
“After I opened up about my struggles, I spoke to a lot of athletes that told me they too had quietly been suffering.
“I didn’t expect any of it [the ensuing attention], and to be honest it was a bit strange. For the first time I had press at my house and at my hotel, that had never happened before. It was a strange feeling and I was shocked that people cared that much.
“I guess I am glad it gave others the opportunity to also speak up even if that wasn’t my intention or what I expected.
“It started a conversation that I think we all needed to start having.”
Osaka says winning used to be her main focus but now she is putting her happiness at No. 1 place.
“My main goal used to be winning. Lately I have tried to ask myself questions like, ‘Will this make you happy?,’” Osaka asked.
“At this stage in my life I feel very content in my mental health journey. I feel comfortable in who I am and where I have come from. There have been ups and downs and I wouldn’t change a thing, which really helps to give me inner peace.”