Naomi Osaka: One year after her sudden retirement, Naomi Osaka participates in the media session of the French Open

Twelve months later refusing to speak to the media during the event, citing mental health reasons, Osaka met the press with thoughtfulness, humor and caution.

With a smile on her face, Osaka told reporters that she was “worried about this press conference because I knew I would get a lot of questions about it.”

Last year, Osaka was visibly stressed and emotional as she addressed the media during a mandatory press conference at Roland Garros.

The former world number one later retired from the 2021 French Open and revealed that he has “suffered long periods of depression” since winning his first major championship in 2018.

“Obviously, I didn’t even like how I handled the whole situation, but I was worried that there were people I offended in some way and that I would run into them,” Osaka said on Friday.

Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a backhand against Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo during the round of 16 match on the fourth day of the Mutua Madrid Open at La Caja Magica on 01 May 2022.

“For the most part I think I’m fine”

Osaka reflected on what happened in 2021 and revealed that he was preparing for how people might react to his return.

“I think for myself where I am right now, I wouldn’t say it hasn’t left my mind. Sure, I’m still thinking about it.

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Two months ago, Osaka was disturbed by a spectator in the crowd during a game in Indian Wells in California. “Naomi, you suck,” the onlooker seemed to shout. The comment made the Japanese superstar cry on the pitch.

“I would also like to prepare myself in case I go out on the pitch and some fans say something like Indian Wells. Yeah, for the most part I think I’m fine.”

A seedless Osaka faces No. 27-seeded Amanda Anisimova on Sunday in the first round of the 2022 French Open.