two-time champion of US Open and current holder of the trophy, Japanese Naomi Osaka was eliminated early from the 2021 edition of the last Grand Slam of the year and announced a break in her tennis career at the age of 23.
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Osaka, seed number 3, lost to Leylah Fernandez, 73rd in the ranking, just 18 years old, by 2 sets to 1, with partials of 5-7, 7-6 (2) and 6-4, in the valid duel for the third round this Friday.
Osaka came to serve for the game 6-5 in the second set, but was broken and played a bad tie-break. The Japanese woman’s frustration was taken care of on her racket, thrown on the ground several times at the end of the end.
And she started the final set unrecognizable, getting broken right away. And that was enough for the Canadian to take her chance and win the game.
At the press conference after the match, the Japanese woman was moved to tears, vented her heart and announced that she will take a break from her tennis career, not knowing when she will play again.
“Basically I feel this is very difficult to articulate. Basically I feel like I’m 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,” said Osaka, the tears.
“I feel that way recently, when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I get really sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I really didn’t want to cry, but…” the tennis player, before being interrupted by the moderator of the press conference.
The Japanese, who has 4 Grand Slam titles, was looking to resume the good phase since since her retirement at Roland Garros this year, citing mental health problems, she has not even reached the quarter finals of any tournament she played, including the Olympics from Tokyo.
After Roland Garros, she took a short two-month hiatus in her career to take care of her mental health, returning only to the Olympics, where she lit the Olympic pyre at the Tokyo Games.
Osaka raised an important issue about mental health in sport and became a symbol of the fight against this disease.