Naomi Osaka Wants a Break From Tennis After US Open Loss

  • Naomi Osaka said she’ll take an indefinite break from tennis, and didn’t know when she’ll return.
  • Osaka won the Australian Open in February, but withdrew from the French Open, and skipped the Wimbledon tournament. 
  • Osaka aimed to prioritize her mental health, saying previously she was “scared” of the media and “desensitized” to her own success.

After a tumultuous season, including several opens and a summer Olympic games, tennis star Naomi Osaka is ready to step away from the sport — at least for now.

“I think I’m going to take a break rom playing for a while,” Osaka said at a US Open press conference on Friday, holding back tears.

The Women’s US Open defending champion lost in a third round match against Canadian Leylah Fernandez. During the match, Osaka threw her racket to the court, took an extended bathroom break, and was given a warning after hitting a ball into the stands.

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

The press moderator attempted to cut the press conference short, but Osaka went on to address the remaining question.

Osaka has faced several personal challenges this past year, expressing regret over a loss for Japan at the Olympics, dealing with self-criticism that she is “never good enough,” and, controversially, withdrawing from a Grand Slam competition to focus on her well-being after being fined $15,000 for declining to speak to the media.

Despite ranking as the No. 3 female tennis player and being the highest-paid female athlete in history, Osaka has been public about her struggles with mental health — particularly when it came to her strenuous relationship with the press. 

“I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do,” Osaka said. “And I don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match.”

Neither Osaka nor her team have confirmed or denied whether she will follow through with the indefinite break.


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