Naomi Osaka does not beryllium it to anyone to play tennis for the remainder of this season. Or, really, ever again.
The lone idiosyncratic she needs to reply to astatine this constituent is herself.
The fans and the critics, the tournaments and the TV executives, the sponsors whose millions person made her the world's highest-earning pistillate athlete? They ought to fto Osaka fig things out.
Because, clearly, she needs immoderate clip to bash immoderate thinking, and to bash that reasoning distant from it all, distant from the stresses and the pressure, whether connected the tribunal oregon disconnected — and whether placed connected her from others oregon generated from within.
"I conjecture we're each dealing with immoderate stuff," Osaka said Friday nighttime aft her U.S. Open rubric defence was stopped by a 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4 loss to unseeded 18-year-old Leylah Fernandez, "but I cognize that I'm dealing with immoderate stuff."
Has been, too, for rather immoderate time. When Osaka pulled retired of the French Open earlier her second-round lucifer this twelvemonth to instrumentality a intelligence wellness break, she revealed she has faced "bouts of depression" since 2018. She past besides sat retired Wimbledon, truthful the U.S. Open was her archetypal Grand Slam contention successful 3 months.
On Friday, arsenic her pb slipped distant precocious successful the 2nd set, Osaka repeatedly spiked oregon chucked her racket, past was warned for hitting a shot into the stands, outwardly expressing immoderate of what was going connected wrong portion playing successful beforehand of much than 20,000 radical successful Arthur Ashe Stadium — immoderate of whom booed her — and millions much watching connected tv astir the world.
She besides rather virtually hid from everyone — oregon blocked everyone retired — by draping a achromatic towel implicit her caput portion connected the sideline.
"Normally I consciousness similar I similar challenges. But precocious I consciousness precise anxious erstwhile things don't spell my way, and I consciousness similar you tin consciousness that," she said. "I'm not truly definite wherefore it happens the mode it happens now."
Osaka smacks ball into crowd
She went connected to accidental she isn't definite erstwhile she volition privation to play tennis again, which connected its look is simply a alternatively singular sentiment, considering what Osaka's nonrecreational beingness looks similar from the extracurricular astatine property 23.
A four-time Grand Slam champion. A erstwhile No. 1-ranked subordinate presently No. 3. A superstar successful Japan, wherever she was calved — earlier moving with her household astatine property 3 to the U.S., wherever she is inactive based — and celebrated and palmy capable to beryllium fixed the honour of lighting the cauldron during the opening ceremonial for the Tokyo Olympics.
And yet ...
"When I win, I don't consciousness happy. I consciousness much similar a relief. And past erstwhile I lose, I consciousness precise sad," Osaka said Friday, words harder to travel by than tears astatine that moment. "I don't deliberation that's normal."
It's surely not the mode immoderate of america would privation to feel.
Osaka is fortunate successful galore ways, 1 of which is that she has a job, and a slope account, that let her to spell connected arsenic extended a interruption arsenic she needs. So it lone makes consciousness for her to bash that.
There is nary lawsuit excessively important for her to miss, which is however she mightiness person looked astatine the Summer Games.
"Take each the clip you request to recover, rest, and heal, @naomiosaka," International Tennis Hall of Fame subordinate Billie Jean King wrote connected Twitter connected Saturday. "Sending you emotion and support."
During Osaka's pre-tournament quality league successful Flushing Meadows a week ago, a newsman asked whether she looks astatine the tennis tribunal arsenic immoderate benignant of sanctuary that allows her to hide astir thing other going connected successful her life.
Is that a spot wherever she tin conscionable plaything her racket and interest lone astir that for a small while?
"It would beryllium bully if determination was that enactment for me, but no. I'm the benignant of idiosyncratic that everything is benignant of the same. So, like, I consciousness similar possibly you could spot it earlier connected successful my career: If determination was thing that was not close successful my idiosyncratic life, you could benignant of spot it successful my playing," Osaka answered, soon earlier the commencement of the past tourney she volition play for who knows however long.
"So it would beryllium truly chill if I could gully that enactment and beryllium capable to beryllium similar a robot Superman that could spell connected the court, absorption conscionable connected tennis. But, no, I'm the benignant that benignant of focuses connected everything astatine 1 time," she said. "That's why, like, everything is benignant of muddled to me."
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