After playing a tumultuous match at the U.S Open on September 3, Naomi Osaka was left feeling uncertain about her future in tennis.
Osaka won her first match against Canadian newcomer 18-year-old Leylah Fernandez but lost a second tiebreaker match to her. The match against Fernandez was a frustrating one for Osaka. Throughout the game, she slammed and threw the racket when emotions ran high for her.
After her 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4 loss to Fernandez, Osaka explained during media interviews that wins and losses were taking a toll on her that she didn’t think was “normal” per the New York Times.
“I feel like for me recently, like, when I win, I don’t feel happy,” Osaka said while holding back tears. “I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal.”
At one point, she broke down crying and when the moderator wanted to end the media conference, Osaka said she wanted to continue. She went on to say that she is not sure about playing tennis in the future or when we will see her playing in another match.
“Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match,” Osaka said. “I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”
This year, Osaka has not played in as many tournaments as before in order to put her mental health first. After refusing to participate in media interviews after the French Open, which resulted in a $15,000 fine that was paid by the Calm App, she also decided not to play in the French Open at all. She also didn’t play in Wimbledon this year due to addressing her depression and anxiety.
When she withdrew from the French Open, she revealed that she had been battling depression since 2018.
“I think now the best thing for the tournament, the other players, and my own well-being is that I withdraw so that everyone can get back to focusing on the tennis going on in Paris,” Osaka said on Twitter and Instagram. “The truth is that I have suffered long bouts of depression since the U.S. Open in 2018 and I have had a really hard time coping with that.”
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