Naomi Osaka Says She Was 'Terrified' to Release Netflix Doc, Calls It 'a Reflection of Who I Am'
“This isn't like a tennis match where I win or lose and from there people can say whether I did well or not,” Naomi Osaka said in a Twitter statement
The reigning U.S. Open tennis player champ, 23, reflected on opening up her life fans and expressed her hope that viewers will understand her decision-making process after watching the docuseries, which has been in the works for two and a half years.
However, "in light of everything that happened recently I was terrified of this being released," she wrote, presumably referring to her withdrawals from the French Open and Wimbledon to focus on her mental health.
"This isn't like a tennis match where I win or lose and from there people can say whether I did well or not," she continued. "This is a look into my life from certain time period and I can't fight the feeling of wondering how it will be received. This is in some ways my soul and a reflection of who I am."
The four-time singles Grand Slam winner said she hopes "there are pieces that people can relate to and maybe other pieces that would help people understand why I make the choices I make."
"If it doesn't that's cool too, it took me a while but I realized that I can't please everyone and I'm really not trying to," Osaka said. "When I go to sleep at night I can only hope I am at peace with myself and I hope the same rings true for anyone reading this."
She concluded, "I'm excited/nervous for you guys to see it and I hope you enjoy it. lol love you all and stay safe."
Osaka similarly reflected on being in the public eye in a cover story interview with Vogue Hong Kong published Friday.
"It isn't easy having so many eyeballs on you, each with an opinion about who they think you are without knowing you first," she told the outlet. "I try to surround myself with people that know me best. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is your own and [that of] the people close to you."
Naomi Osaka: Playing By Her Own Rules includes several impactful moments of the tennis professional's life in the two years after her 2018 U.S. Open victory over Serena Williams.
In the second episode of the docuseries, Osaka opened up about Kobe Bryant's death in some self-shot footage filmed one day after the Los Angeles Lakers legend died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
"It's so amazing how one person can, like, touch the hearts of so many people. I've been walking around and there's so many people with Bryant jerseys on," she said.
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"When I talked to him, I felt so similar to him. Like the way he was talking, the way he would describe how, I don't know, he would do things to get under his opponents' skin or whatever. I was like, 'That's literally what I do.' So I'm feeling like I let him down, like, I'm supposed to carry on his mentality in tennis and here I am like, having what ... I haven't won a Grand Slam. Like, I'm losing matches because I'm mentally weak, and he's ... that's so uncharacteristic of him," she said in the footage.
"We're having all these talks and I'm not even doing what we're talking about," she continued. "So it's like I'm just gonna text him again, like, 'How do you heal with this situation?' And then I didn't text him that 'cause I didn't wanna feel like a loser, and now I'll never have the chance to talk to him again. I don't know, like wow."
Naomi Osaka: Playing By Her Own Rules is now streaming on Netflix.