If you’ve been keeping up with the sports world at all lately, you’d know that the mental health status of some of the most well know athletes has been an ongoing topic of conversation.
The topic was kicked off and set into the mainstream when champion tennis player Naomi Osaka opted out of doing press engagements at the French Open year this year for the sake of her mental health.
At the time, the athlete had explained:
“I’ve often thought that people have no regard for athletes’ mental health and this rings very true whenever I see a press conference or partake in one… I’m just not going to subject myself to people that doubt me.”
After being fined $15,000 by Roland-Garros, she’d decided to withdraw from the competition altogether and proceed to drop out of German Open and Wimbledon. More recently, gymnast Simone Biles made waves in the media when she dropped out of some of the competitions she was set to compete in at the Tokyo Olympics.
Giving her thoughts on the ongoing conversation, The Washington Post wrote that Gauff recently told reporters that she’s been “watching everything unfold.”
“I just feel like the media and everyone forgets that a mental injury is just as painful as a physical injury. Mental health is invisible, but it’s a very real issue,” 17-year-old Gauff told reporters.
Gauff shared that when Biles tweeted, “I’m more than my accomplishments and gymnastics,” it was a statement that really resonated with her.
“That’s something personally I had to work through and deal with, and I would imagine that other people feel that, too,” Gauff expressed. “It’s important for us to know that our worth isn’t defined by how well we do in our sport.”
Sportskeeda reported that Guaff also recently told reporters she relates to Biles in another way as well — when it comes to feeling self-doubt in the heat of playing their respective sports.
“Yeah, I definitely would say it was more of a mental issue,” Gauff said, explaining her struggles during her second serve at the recent National Bank Open.
“When I had those double fault problems, I was in practice making like 40 serves in a row, and then I would get to the match and not be able to make one. So it’s definitely a mental issue.”
“I guess now I found they’ve finally found a term for it,” Gauff continued. “As Simone said, Simone Biles, she called it the ‘twisties.’ Obviously, in tennis, we won’t get hurt from double-faulting [compared to] what the twist is in gymnastics. But I think that’s what I had on the serve.”
“Obviously, not as in you’re not going to get injured from it,” she highlighted. “And it’s not as serious of a thing as it is in gymnastics, but I really, I think that’s what I had on my serve. It’s all mental.”