Naomi Osaka's decision to prioritize her mental well-being has resonated with many within the sporting community. And snooker legend Ronnie O'Sullivan is the latest sportsperson to support the four-time Grand Slam winner's decision.
In a recent interview with The Sportsman, O'Sullivan expressed empathy with the Japanese's situation, having dealt with mental health issues and depression himself.
Ronnie O'Sullivan has spoken about taking care of your mental health and personal well-being throughout his career. He has taken time off from snooker to pursue other interests, and has now seemingly found the right balance between his commitment to the sport and his mental health.
In that context, the Brit voiced his admiration for Naomi Osaka and commended her for standing up for her beliefs. He stated that athletes from across various disciplines are aware of her stance, and expressed hope that more people would support the decisions they make to prioritize their mental health.
"I think she is great," O'Sullivan said. "I admire the girl and she is standing up for what she believes in and is a bit of a trailblazer – and has a lot of support from sportspeople across the world. They recognise what she is saying and hope players and athletes get a bit more support."
A huge fan of the sport and of Naomi Osaka herself, Ronnie O'Sullivan believes that some time away from tennis - and in the company of her loved ones instead - would be beneficial for the Japanese.
"She is a great player, and isn't going anywhere," O'Sullivan said. "And I'm sure the break will do her some good. She is just chilling out and enjoying herself and everyone should let her do that."
"Naomi Osaka has worked hard and is now in a position to make those choices for herself" - Ronnie O'Sullivan
Ronnie O'Sullivan went on to mention that while for outsiders it might seem like she's doing an extraordinary job on the court, for Naomi Osaka it's just another day in the office. The 45-year-old further claimed that Osaka's achievements have put her in a position to take some time off whenever she wanted to.
"Some days everyone is sucking up to her saying she is great over her tennis," O'Sullivan said. "And she is just thinking, 'But I do that every day'. And the same is true of her deciding to take some time out and spending it with friends and family; it's just what she felt like doing. That isn’t a bad thing. Good luck to her, she has worked hard and is now in a position to make those choices for herself."