Light at the End of the Tennis Tunnel
Life is a journey.
When I said I needed to miss French Open press conferences to take care of myself mentally, I should have been prepared for what unfolded.
Since then, it has become apparent to me that literally everyone either suffers from issues related to their mental health or knows someone who does. The number of messages I received from such a vast cross section of people confirms that. I think we can almost universally agree that each of us is a human being and subject to feelings and emotions.
At the time [of withdrawing], the thought of doing one more press conference sickened me. I was not prepared for the reaction I would garner after withdrawing from the French Open though.
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. I also do not want to have to engage in a scrutiny of my personal medical history ever again.
I want people to realize that we are all dealing with issues behind the scenes.
For me, I always try to push myself to speak up for what I believe to be right, but that often comes at a cost of great anxiety. I feel uncomfortable being the spokesperson or face of athlete mental health as it’s still so new to me and I don’t have all the answers. I do hope that people can relate and understand it’s O.K. to not be O.K., and it’s O.K. to talk about it. There are people who can help, and there is usually light at the end of any tunnel.