Despite her press boycott, Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka has broken her social media silence to promote a new photo session in Vogue Japan.
In an Instagram post on Monday, the tennis player posted the cover of the fashion magazine as well as a few of the glamorous images included in the upcoming August issue.
"Hi guys. Popping out to post this Vogue Japan cover, hope you're all doing well and staying safe," she wrote to her 2.4 million followers.
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And many of her celebrity friends, including Venus Williams, Nicki Minaj, and Saweetie, were quick to appreciate the post.
Other social media users, however, noted that the cover photo seemed to indicate that she was in fact comfortable with interacting with the media despite the apparent media blackout.
Oh so did she answer questions?— Aditi (@Adril9596) June 21, 2021
Looks really introverted and scared of through media, but I guess this eill make her money so she's okay with it— Mlind (@MarcLindsay14) June 21, 2021
Thought she was depressed 🤭— Teresa Doherty (@Teresa48263408) June 22, 2021
I am glad that it looks like Naomi Osaka's mental health problem has been cured by Louis Vuitton and a Vogue cover page.— FAMA (@apoyarenas) June 21, 2021
The former world number one is dressed in Louis Vuitton and Nike sportswear, which is one of her sponsors, for the photo session. So some Twitterians figured the money from the shoot was helping the 23-year-old fight depression, which she talked about in a post announcing the decision to leave the tournament, citing introversion and social anxiety.
"I'm gonna take some time away from the court now, but when the time is right I really want to work with the tour to discuss ways we can make things better for the players, press and fans," Osaka posted in late May. "The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that."
Osaka returned to her Los Angeles home earlier this month after flying back from Roland Garros following only one match.
According to the Daily Mail, Boris Becker, a former Wimbledon winner, was outspoken about the incident, saying that stars cannot take "half the cake," and that Osaka's future in sports could be jeopardized.
"If she can't cope with the media in Paris, she can't cope with the media at Wimbledon, she can't cope with the media at the US Open," he reportedly said.
And, interestingly, Osaka's sister Mari argued on Reddit that the star did not want to be reminded of her clay-court record, which isn't as impressive as her grass-court performances.