I think it’s safe to say that aside from the tennis star’s pristine talent within the tennis sports world, her strong stance on prioritizing mental health is inspiring, and if it isn't a Naomi Osaka Barbie doll to commemorate her accolades or her very own Netflix docuseries, I think winning Best Athlete in Women’s Sports at the 2021 ESPY Awards will do the trick to go down in future history books.
Alongside Osaka winning Best Athlete in Women’s Sports at the ESPYs, she also received an award for Best Athlete in Women’s Tennis at the ESPY ceremony on Saturday, July 10th, at New York City’s The Rooftop at Pier 17.
Naomi took to Instagram a few behind-the-scenes pictures of the event with a few of her friends and her boyfriend, Cordae.
Naomi was seen sporting a green Louis Vuitton skirt with a striped black and white blouse. To top the look off, the star wore a pair of Monolo Blahnik pumps and a Tag Heuer watch- Osaka is an ongoing ambassador for the Swiss brand.
After receiving her award for Best Athlete in Women’s Sports, Osaka gave a speech that reflects on the difficulties of a challenging year. She spoke on her personal experience with those challenges as well within her heartfelt speech.
"I just really want to not say a long speech because I'm a bit nervous … I know this year has been really, it hasn't even finished, but it's been really tough for a lot of us. For me, I just want to say, I really love you guys and this is my first ESPYs so it's really cool to be surrounded by all these incredible athletes. I think all of you guys are really cool and I watch some of you on TV so it's really surreal to be here and yeah, thank you so much and I really appreciate it," said Osaka.
Saturday’s event was Osaka’s first-ever public appearance after withdrawing from Wimbledon and the French Open. As a result of her withdrawal, she was fined $15,000 for not wanting to engage with the press due to her mental health concerns.
The tennis star has received an overwhelming amount of support from other athletes, fans, and supporters who are honoring her for taking a noble stance on her prioritizing her mental health and openly sharing her previous encounters with depression. Among a few of the athletes that have praised Osaka are Michael Phelps, Steph Curry, and Novak Djokovic. She has also received ongoing support from the former First Lady, Michelle Obama, and Meagan Markle, who has similarly dealt with issues concerning mental health and depression.
Naomi's ongoing fight to amplify the need for mental health awareness has helped and inspired others to put themselves first, while shedding light on the importance of setting boundaries and practicing self-love. Her spread for awareness in these areas has come at a time where mental health is starting to be less stigmatized and more prioritized by the public as we all continue to combat the effects of a pandemic over a year later.