Naomi Osaka took to Instagram on Wednesday to recommend the Netflix documentary 'Untold: Breaking Point' to her fans. The documentary chronicles former World No. 7 Mardy Fish's struggles with mental health and anxiety.
Osaka is currently playing at the Melbourne Summer Set, where she will face Maryna Zanevska in the second round. She is coming off a four-month break after the US Open to protect her mental health. The World No. 13 spent her time out catching up on movies, which is how she stumbled upon the film.
The 24-year-old posted a screenshot from the movie's page on Netflix, adding that it was a "great" watch.
"This was great," Osaka wrote on her Instagram story.
Osaka, one of the most vocal advocates of mental health among athletes, sent shock waves across the tennis world at Roland Garros last year. She announced she would not be attending any press conferences because of the mental stress they levied on her.
Osaka later pulled out of the tournament and the following Wimbledon citing mental health issues. Following a brief return to tennis, the Japanese star cut her season short after the US Open, saying that "winning did not make her happy anymore."
Osaka's return to the sport in 2022 has been as much a surprise to herself as her fans. After her first-round win against Alize Cornet, Osaka revealed that she expected to take a much longer break, but loves the sport too much to stay away for long.
Much like Naomi Osaka, Mardy Fish also struggled with mental health issues
It should come as no surprise that Naomi Osaka sympathized with Mardy Fish's story. The American was tipped to be the next big thing in tennis and spent his whole life catering to the expectations of those around him.
After turning professional at the age of 18, Fish was the top-ranked American for a brief period and reached the final of the 2004 Olympics in Athens. The American entered the top 10 for the first time in 2011 at the age of 30. But in the midst of the 2012 French Open, he suffered severe cardiac arrhythmia.
Even though Fish returned to tennis soon after, the pressure at the US Open proved too much for him. He withdrew from his fourth-round match against Roger Federer just moments before it was supposed to begin.
It was then that Mardy Fish was diagnosed with a severe anxiety disorder. For the next three years, Fish appeared on the tennis circuit only sporadically until he officially announced his retirement at the 2015 US Open.
Fish spoke of his pain in a Los Angeles Times interview.
“You’ve got to remember, too, I was at the top of my career. And it was all taken away," Fish recalled.
He also revealed that he hasn't watched the documentary yet, but plans to do so soon.
“The reason I haven’t watched it yet is it was a really, really hard time in my life. I’m planning on watching it. I’m excited to watch it,” he said
Currently, Mardy Fish serves as an advocate for mental health, using his personal experiences to remind people how to prioritize their health and minimize the risk of burnout.