Golf superstar Rory McIllroy showed his support to Naomi Osaka after the Tennis sensation’s decision to take an indefinite leave from the sport following her US Open defeat.
Osaka lost to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open last Friday, but it was her move after the lost that made headlines. The 23-year-old opened up about her metal health struggles once again, sharing she no longer feels happy when she wins.
“Recently, when I win, I don’t feel happy,” the two-time US Open champ said. “I only feel relief. When I lose, I feel very sad. And I don’t think that’s normal. Basically, I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do. I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”
While her decision has been met with criticisms again, just like when she withdrew from the French Open and Wimbledon this year due to her mental health problems, Naomi Osaka also got a lot of support in return. As mentioned, Rory McIlroy was sympathetic of the Japanese international and shared how he knows what Osaka is feeling.
“I spoke about this in 2019 about separating who I am as a golfer and who I am as a person and trying to not let that define me,” McIlroy said, per The New York Post. “It seems what Naomi is going through at the minute is that same thing. How can I play tennis and enjoy it and not let the results define who I am … I think everyone just needs to let her have time to figure that out.”
It remains to be seen when Osaka will return to the competitive scene after her hiatus. However, she definitely has a lot of people backing her and wishing her the best after her shocking decision following the US Open.
Of course her current no. 3 ranking will be affected by her indefinite break, but it’s only a number at the end of the day. As McIlroy said, what’s important is for her to find that joy in playing again and return to the sport healthy–whenever she feels it.