Naomi Osaka wondered if she was "scared" of headlines about losing and felt "ungrateful" at times about her popularity.
The world's second-ranked women's tennis player is currently contesting the Cincinnati Open and controversy has already sprung up after her first media appearance following her exit from the Tokyo Olympics competition.
Osaka became tearful during her first media conference since withdrawing from the French Open in May after stating she wouldn't attend the compulsory post-match media interview.
Her agent labelled the reporter a "bully" for asking Osaka how she balanced her dislike of media conferences with having a lot of outside interests that are served by having a media platform.
Osaka did address the issue.
"I wonder what affected me... made me not want to do media?.
"I'm wondering if I was scared because sometimes I would see headlines of players losing and then the headline the next day would be like 'a collapse' or 'they're not that great anymore'.
"The choice to go out there and play, to go see fans, the people that are coming out and watching you play, that itself is an accomplishment and I'm not sure when along the way I started desensitising that," Osaka said.
"It started not being an accomplishment for me so I felt like I was very ungrateful on that fact."
The 23-year-old also pulled out of Wimbledon before lightng the flame at the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, where she later lost in the third round.
On Wednesday she came from a set and a break down to beat 17-year-old American Coco Gauff 4-6 6-3 6-4 in the second round.
Osaka felt the Covid-19 pandemic may have played a part in her mental health issues, but recent world events have given her a fresh perspective.
"I think definitely this whole Covid thing was really stressful with the bubbles and not seeing people and not having the interactions," said Osaka, who faces Swiss Jill Teichmann for a spot in the quarterfinals late this morning.
"But seeing the state of the world, how everything is in Haiti [her father's homeland, which has been hit by an earthquake and tropical storm in recent days] and Afghanistan right now is definitely really crazy, and for me to just be hitting a tennis ball in the United States right now and have people come and watch me play is... I would want to be myself in this situation rather than anyone else in the world."
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