When it comes to speaking eloquently about fellow athletes, Rory McIlroy has shown a penchant for providing plenty of insight and perspective.
Last week, McIlroy offered a thoughtful analysis of the heckling issues and other problems that fellow golfer Bryson DeChambeau is dealing with. Today, he was asked about the ongoing struggles of tennis standout Naomi Osaka.
Osaka, who has been open about her mental health and even withdrew from the French Open earlier this summer because of it, hinted at a possible break from tennis after her upset loss at the U.S. Open. She also made a confession about her mindset of late.
“Recently, when I win, I don’t feel happy,” Osaka told reporters. “I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal.”
Addressing a question about Osaka today, McIlroy admitted there have been times he’s lost some love for the game of golf and how he had to work to not allow his play on the course to define him as a person.
“I think that’s what she’s going through right now and I think everyone just needs to let her have time to figure that out,” McIlroy said. “And she seems like a really smart girl, and hopefully she’ll be able to do it and come back and start enjoying the game just like when she picked the racquet up when she was a little girl. …”
Rory was great on Naomi Osaka and the specific cost of reaching the highest level in sports. pic.twitter.com/J8TBI8yEyy
— Kyle Porter (@KylePorterCBS) September 5, 2021
Now, clearly McIlroy has some familiarity with Osaka’s situation, but that’s still a pretty impressive answer considering he couldn’t have known he was getting asked about it.
The 23-year-old Osaka has not made it clear how long she plans to step away from tennis, but hopefully whenever she returns, it will be in a much better state of mind.