Osaka to take another break from tennis after shock US Open defeat

New York, US, Sep 3 (EFE).- Japanese tennis world No. 3 Naomi Osaka said late Friday she would take a break from tennis after being knocked out of the US Open, ending her title defense.

At a press conference on Friday night after her 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4 loss to 18-year-old 73rd-ranked Canadian Leylah Fernandez, a teary Osaka, who had to pause on occasion to gather herself, said that she was thinking of taking a break from tennis “for a while.”

“I feel like for me recently, like, when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad,” Osaka said. “I don’t think that’s normal.”

When the US Open moderator offered to end the conference, Osaka said she wanted to continue.

“This is very hard to articulate. 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,” she said.

“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while,” she added, breaking down.

This was the 23-year-old’s first Grand Slam since she withdrew from the French Open before the second round citing mental health reasons after announcing that she would not participate in postgame press conferences in Paris.

She also didn’t compete at Wimbledon, but returned for the Tokyo Olympics, where she lit the cauldron at the opening ceremony.

During her hiatus after Roland Garros, Osaka revealed that she endures anxiety before meeting the media and has dealt with depression for the past three years.

The first sign that things were not quite right with Osaka on Friday came when she slammed her racket against the court after losing a point. Moments later, she threw her equipment, sending it bouncing and skidding halfway to the net.

“I was telling myself to be calm, but I feel like maybe there was a boiling point. Like normally I feel like I like challenges. But recently I feel very anxious when things don’t go my way, and I feel like you can feel that. I’m not really sure why it happens the way it happens now,” she said.

“But, yeah, it’s basically why. You could kind of see that. I was kind of like a little kid.”

Her game was off. In the end, the crowd booed her for turning her back to the court and taking too much time between points. Soon enough, Osaka was out of the tournament. EFE


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