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Monday, October 25, 2021

Naomi Osaka On “Indefinite Break” After US Open Loss, Says Tennis No Longer Bringing Her Joy

We may have seen the last of Naomi Osaka for at least this year. In a tearful press conference following her defeat at the hands of Leylah Fernandez Friday night at the US Open, she said she’s “going to take a break for a while.”

Osaka, the defending US Open champion, had a near meltdown during her third round match with Fernandez, throwing her racket to the court several times and walking off into a bathroom without telling anyone her plans. She was also issued a warning for hitting a ball into the stands.

When she returned from her unannounced bathroom break, she seemed distracted and rushed. The crowd began heavily backing the upstart Fernandez, who triumphed in the match by scores of 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

In a news conference following her defeat, Osaka admitted that “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. I don’t think that’s normal.”

She then began to cry. When the moderator attempted to end the media session, Osaka said she wanted to continue.

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

Osaka has struggled with her mental health. She withdrew from the French Open before her second-round match in May, and skipped Wimbledon. She lost in the Olympics in her native Japan and in the round of 16 to at the Western & Southern Open before the US Open.

In the US Open, Osaka advanced to the third round via walkover after her second-round opponent withdrew with illness. She defeated Marie Bouzkova in the first round Monday.

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