Naomi Osaka is back on the court and happier than ever. The 23-year-old shined at her first game in nearly two months since she withdrew herself from the French Open back in May. Osaka whizzed past Zheng Saisai of China dominating her first Olympic Games competition 6-1, 6-4 on July 25.
The number 2 ranking champion also seemed in better spirits engaging with the press this time around. Back in May, the young athlete expressed her frustrations with the press citing that she often experienced “waves of anxiety” before interacting with media. During the post-game conference, a much chipper Osaka shared her excitement about competing in the Olympics and added that her hiatus off the court was everything she needed to reset.
“The Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, so I feel like the break that I took was very needed. I feel definitely a little bit refreshed, and I’m happy again.”
“I feel a little bit out of my body right now,” Osaka continued. “There’s nothing wrong with my body; I just felt really nervous. I haven’t played since France, so there were definitely some things that I did a bit wrong, but I think I can improve in the matches that I continue playing.”
Osaka looked so cute too! Sporting long red and white box braids along with a burgundy tennis dress to match.
Winning in style we see!
The four-time Grand Slam champ also dazzled at the Olympics opening ceremony on July 24, where the tennis star who recently made history as the first athlete of color to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, lit the Olympic cauldron.
Naomi said she was “so honored” to kick off the ceremony’s most coveted moment.
“I think that’s a position that you dream about and not anyone can do it. So, for me, when they asked me if I wanted to, I was very surprised but very honored. And I’m just very happy to be here and very happy to play — especially in Tokyo,” she explained.
Osaka might be on track to become the first Japanese player to win Olympic gold, too. In her 2nd round, the star also blazed past Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic 6-3, 6-2… in less than an hour might we add.
Congrats to Naomi Osaka!
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