Naomi Osaka Loses At U.S. Open, Talks Taking Another Break From Tennis

In a year of massive ups and downs, Naomi Osaka has hit another bump in the road. 

Osaka was eliminated from the U.S. Open Friday night, losing in three sets to Leylah Fernandez 5-7, 7-6 (2), and 6-4. During the loss, Osaka became visibly frustrated at times, at one point smashing her racket and receiving a warning for hitting a ball into the stands.  

“I’m really sorry about that,” Osaka said when asked about the displays of emotion during the match. “I’m not really sure why. I was telling myself to be calm but maybe there was a boiling point. 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 … You could kind of see that. I was kind of like a little kid.” 

Later in the post-match press conference, Osaka became emotional when discussing her future in tennis. 

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

The moderator tried to end the press conference saying, “Gentlemen, I’m done,” before Osaka said she wanted to finish answering the question. 

“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 as she began to cry. “I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”

Osaka then ended the press conference.

She made her return to tennis at the Tokyo Olympics after taking some time off from the game following her withdrawal from the French Open in May. She went on to lose to No. 42 ranked Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic in the third round. 

In August, Osaka played in the Western & Southern Open and participated in her first press conference since withdrawing from the French Open.

Osaka was asked by Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty how she balances her media obligations considering her platform, and while she was able to answer the question, she began to cry and was forced to leave the press conference for five minutes before returning, 

“I can only speak for myself,” she said. “But ever since I was younger I have had a lot of media interest on me, and I think it’s because of my background, as well as how I play, because in the first place I’m a tennis player. That’s why a lot of people are interested in me, so I would say in that regards I am quite different to a lot of people. And I can’t really help that there are some things that I tweet or some things that I say that kind of create a lot of news articles or things like that.”

“I would also say, I’m not really sure how to balance it. I’m figuring it out at the same time you are.” 

Osaka has been at the forefront of the mental health movement over the past several months, citing “long bouts of depression” ever since winning the 2018 US Open. 

Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers, and the NBA for Sporting News. Send your sports questions to sports@dailywire.com.

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