On September 4, Naomi Osaka was playing her last game at the US Open. After losing against the surprising (18-year-old) Leylah Fernández in the third round, the tears at the press conference. The realization that the world was spinning too fast for her and she had to stop. “When I win, I don’t feel happiness, only relief. And when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think it’s normal … I’m trying to figure out what I want to do and I’m going to take a break for a while. ” athlete with the highest income in the world (34.2 million according to Forbes).
Fortunately for women’s tennis, which has the hope of a recognizable global icon in the four-time Grand Slams winner, the 24-year-old Japanese will return to the chopping block in Australia. On Monday, already mounted on the plane that will take her to Melbourne’s WTA 250 from day 4 already defend his title at the Australian Open from 17 He was smiling behind the mask while making the victory sign, as he showed in a photo.
See you in 16ish hours Australia 🇦🇺👋🏾 pic.twitter.com/IiaAmofdpg
– NaomiOsaka 大 坂 な お み (@naomiosaka) December 27, 2021
Osaka, introverted in the face of sports media, however common in magazines and active on the social level (pushed the Black Lives Matter into the world of sports, for example) starred in a great controversy at Roland Garros when she refused to speak to the media, denouncing that overexposure was overcoming her and was causing her anxiety, and gave the scared in the second round to resign later to Wimbledon and disappear two months until the Tokyo Games, where she was in charge of lighting the cauldron … and lost in the third round.
The Japanese woman with a Haitian father put the mental problems of high-level athletes on the table before Simone Biles did. Then he explained his ‘short circuit’ in Paris: “It was something I felt I had to do. For me. I locked myself at home for a couple of weeks and was embarrassed to go out. But it opened my eyes to go to the Games and for other athletes to tell me how happy they were for what I did. Now I feel proud. “
It remains to be seen what position he will take with the media (press conference appearances are mandatory) and what Osaka will be seen on the track. But, at least, there is already the certainty that his place is still in tennis. From 13th place in the standings, and with the 2,000 points he defends in the Grand Slam, he has the challenge of coming back. And relight the flame.