Entertainment Sports Naomi Osaka Says She's Having 'a Blast' on Tennis Court for 'First Time in a While' The tennis star spoke to SELF about her mental health journey for the magazine's May issue By Alexandra Schonfeld Alexandra Schonfeld Twitter Digital News Writer, PEOPLE People Editorial Guidelines Published on May 9, 2022 01:05 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Naomi Osaka is opening up more about her personal journey with anxiety and depression in SELF's May issue in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. The 24-year-old tennis champion told the magazine that after her decision to voluntarily withdraw from the French Open last year, citing mental health, other athletes began sharing their stories with her. Osaka made headlines after citing her need to prioritize her emotional well-being as the reason for withdrawing from the tournament in a lengthy announcement posted to Instagram. Osaka told SELF that the reaction to her announcement came as a shock. "After I opened up about struggles … I spoke to a lot of athletes that told me they too had quietly been suffering," she recounted. Naomi Osaka Reveals Why She Stays in Airbnbs When She's Playing and What She Can't Travel Without Brad Ogbonna. "I didn't expect any of it, and to be honest it was a bit strange," she added of the public's reaction. "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." Despite the surplus of attention, Osaka said she was "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 told SELF that she now feels very "content" in her "mental health journey." Brad Ogbonna. "I feel comfortable in who I am and where I have come from," she said. "There have been ups and downs and I wouldn't change a thing, which really helps to give me inner peace." Osaka recently appeared at the Miami Open where she made it to the finals before losing in the final round to Iga Swiatek on April 2. Despite the loss, she said she had a "blast on the court for the first time in a while." "I have a new perspective and I'm so appreciative that I have this career and platform," the athlete said. "I'm also really energized and motivated." Naomi Osaka Says She's Going to 'Celebrate Myself More' as She Reflects on Big Career Moments Brad Ogbonna/Self Osaka is funneling all those positive reactions to her candor toward a new project. She recently joined forces with Modern Health, a workplace mental health platform, to raise further awareness and destigmatize mental health care among younger generations and marginalized communities. The star athlete will serve as the chief community health advocate of Modern Health's community impact program focused on giving back, Modern Health Community, according to a statement shared with PEOPLE. "More and more people across the world are struggling with mental health and in taking a stand to protect my own last year, I inadvertently ignited a public conversation. Since then I've not only focused on my own mental health including meditating as well as starting to see a therapist, but I've also realized my own experience can help others. My goal is to empower others to not be hesitant to seek the help they need," said Osaka.