Andy Murray explains why he sympathises with Naomi Osaka over mental health and media struggles

Shahida Jacobs
Andy Murray in conversation

He has come a long way from being criticised for having a “dour personality” and “a boring voice” so it is no surprise that Andy Murray can sympathise with young athletes like Naomi Osaka who are struggling in the limelight.

When Murray broke through as a teenager, he was often accused of being moody and boring and he admitted during an interview in 2013 that he kept press conferences as bland as possible to avoid controversy.

Nearly a decade later and the 34-year-old is very comfortable in front of the cameras and not afraid to talk about contentious issues.

But while Murray has come to grips with dealing with the media, players like Osaka still struggle and the four-time Grand Slam winner recently withdrew from Wimbledon after revealing she is struggling with depression and anxiety.

Naomi Osaka will not play at Wimbledon but she is preparing to return to the game

Osaka first touched on the mental health subject in the build-up to the French Open when she announced she would not do interviews in order to protect her mental health and later withdrew from the tournament.

Murray says he “can certainly understand how athletes struggle” not only with the limelight, but also dealing with the press.

“I’ve obviously dealt with a lot of injuries in the last few years, which has been tough mentally, but, when I was younger, dealing with the pressure of playing high-level sport is not something that you’re prepared for,” the former world No 1 told Sky Sports News.

“I appreciate that I’m very lucky, I get to play sport and stuff and there are people who are in significantly worse positions than multi-million pound tennis players, but I think unless you’ve been in that situation people wouldn’t understand; going from an 18-year-old playing in front of no people to all of a sudden playing on Wimbledon Centre Court and being commented on your personality and how you might look and how you might talk.

“When you’re 19 or 20 you’re not prepared for that and it’s a big change. Earlier on in my career, I did find it harder dealing with the press side of things and the attention, whereas now I have a quite different perspective on things, so it’s fine. But I can certainly understand how athletes do struggle with it.”

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