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Naomi Osaka sounds like she’s ready to take another break from tennis.
Osaka, after her third-round loss to Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez at the US Open on Friday night, said that she is still dealing with mental health issues that led her to step back from tennis earlier this year.
The sport, the 23-year-old said tearfully, isn’t fun for her right now.
“I feel like for me recently, like when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief,” she said while tearing up, via Sporting News’ Jackie Spiegel. “And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry, but basically I feel like … I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and honestly I don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry.”
Osaka falls to Fernandez at US Open
Fernandez, 18, picked up the biggest win of her career on Friday night at Arthur Ashe Stadium in a battle with Osaka.
Fernandez, after falling in a tight first set, got Osaka in a tiebreaker in the second and then flew through in the third after Osaka started getting frustrated on the court. At one point, Osaka threw her racket on the court after making several errors in a row.
Naomi Osaka, normally very stoic, throws her racquet after missing a forehand. No code violation but she lost the tiebreak to Fernandez pic.twitter.com/o8ZsVL8osM
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) September 4, 2021
Fernandez was the second 18-year-old to knock off a No. 3 seed at the US Open on Friday, joining Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, who beat Stefanos Tsitsipas on the men’s side.
Osaka has now lost her past three tournaments in the third round, as she fell in the Olympics to Marketa Vondrousova and at the Western & Southern Open to Jil Teichmann.
Osaka pulled out of French Open amid mental health, anxiety issues
The year has been an incredibly challenging one for the four-time Grand Slam winner, to say the least.
Osaka first announced at the French Open in May that she wasn’t going to speak to any reporters at the event, due to mental health concerns she had. After facing immense backlash — the French Open even fined her for her decision — she eventually dropped out of the tournament altogether, and didn’t return to the court until the Olympics.
She then broke down in tears after returning to do a formal news conference at the Western & Southern Open last month, and her agent slammed a “bully” reporter who asked her about her relationship with the media.
Though she was in tears Friday night in New York, Osaka pushed through her news conference even after the moderator tried to cut her off multiple times when they saw she was getting upset.
Osaka clearly wanted to get her message across.