Olympic legend Ian Thorpe, 38, has praised tennis star Naomi Osaka for drawing bringing attention to the issue of mental health.
Speaking to Stellar magazine, he gave applause to the 23-year-old’s openness in her statement on her health.
‘I applaud her for showing people that mental-health issues can impact anyone,’ he told the publication.
Praise: Olympic legend Ian Thorpe, 38, (pictured) has praised tennis star Naomi Osaka for drawing bringing attention to the issue of mental health
‘It doesn’t matter how successful you see that person as being. Remember, athletes put higher expectations on themselves than anyone else.’
‘We may be able to create these superhero-like efforts in performances – but we are humans at the end of it.’
In May this year, Naomi revealed she has suffered bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018 withdrawing from major competition to give herself a break.
Open: In May this year, Naomi, 23, (pictured) revealed she has suffered bouts of depression since the US Open in 2018. Seen here in NYC, August 2021
Elsewhere in his interview, Ian, who is openly gay, said say he struggled to cope with the pressure of an elite sporting career as well as his sexuality.
‘As an athlete, people are not just hoping for you to win, they’re expecting you to win,’ he said.
‘I still wasn’t comfortable with my own sexuality at that time, and I was also dealing with my own mental health and the pressure I was under.’
Career: ‘As an athlete, people are not just hoping for you to win, they’re expecting you to win,’ he said. ‘You don’t want to add another layer of complexity to that, or that’s how I always felt.’
In a good place: ‘I can still experience the emotions and the elation that I’m so happy in my own skin,’ Ian said. Pictured with rival Peter Van Hoogenband in the 2000 Sydney Olympics
Ian has previously spoken about his experience with depression.
‘For a number of years, I thought doctors were lying to me when they said it is something that is manageable,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I only ever aspired to be content in what I was doing, and then there was a point where I realised – you know what, I’m actually happy.’
‘I can still experience the emotions and the elation that I’m so happy in my own skin.’
Ian will next be seen in Celebrity MasterChef Australia which premieres on October 10.
Happy: ‘I only ever aspired to be content in what I was doing, and then there was a point where I realised – you know what, I’m actually happy,’ Ian said. Here with friend, Mick Fanning
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