“I also do not want to have to engage in a scrutiny of my personal medical history ever again.”
Naomi withdrew from the competition after having to pay a $15,000 fine for missing a press conference.
She later revealed she made this move because of depression she has been experiencing since 2018.
Now, in an open letter written in Time Magazine, Naomi is opening up about the intense scrutiny that athletes have faced when it comes to revealing their health issues and how she believes we can make progress moving forward.
She shared of her experience, “In my case, I felt under a great amount of pressure to disclose my symptoms — frankly because the press and the tournament did not believe me.”
“I do not wish that on anyone and hope that we can enact measures to protect athletes, especially the fragile ones,” she continued. “I also do not want to have to engage in a scrutiny of my personal medical history ever again. So I ask the press for some level of privacy and empathy next time we meet.”
As for where we go from here, Naomi has a few ideas she believes can help athletes in the future.
“There can be moments for any of us where we are dealing with issues behind the scenes. Each of us as humans is going through something on some level,” she explained. “I have numerous suggestions to offer the tennis hierarchy, but my No. 1 suggestion would be to allow a small number of ‘sick days’ per year where you are excused from your press commitments without having to disclose your personal reasons. I believe this would bring sport in line with the rest of society.”
At only 23 years old, Naomi is setting the tone and pace for the sports industry at large, and honestly, she’s just getting started.
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