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After suffering a defeat at the US Open on Friday night, Naomi Osaka is considering taking a hiatus from the sport, reports the New York Times.
In a shocking upset, the US Open defending champion lost her third-round match to Canada’s Leylah Fernandez.
Osaka spoke candidly to reporters about losing the joy of playing tennis in a news conference following the match.
“I feel like for me recently, like, when I win, I don’t feel happy,” Osaka said. “I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal.”
Filled with emotion, she continued although the moderator attempted to end the media session.
“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,” she continued. “I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”
Struggling for most of the match, Osaka, who was leading by a set, broke Fernandez for a 6-5 lead in the second set. But her 18-year old opponent proved to be resilient by forcing a tiebreak.
During the tiebreak, Osaka slammed her racquet to the court, a rare display of frustration from the four-time grand slam winner.
Fernandez would go on to win the tiebreak to force a final set, and then she broke Osaka to begin the third set. After hitting the ball in the crowd, Osaka was penalized with a code violation for ball abuse.
Fernandez, who was ranked No. 73 in the world, won the match 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4.
Osaka said she regretted allowing her emotions to get the best of her on the court.
“Yeah, I’m really sorry about that. I’m not really sure why,” she said. “I was telling myself to be calm, but I feel like maybe there was a boiling point. Normally I feel like I like challenges. But recently I feel very anxious when things don’t go my way, and I feel like you can feel that. I’m not really sure why it happens the way it happens now.”
The US Open was the first tournament Osaka has competed in since she withdrew from the French Open earlier this year to prioritize her mental health. Later, she revealed that she had been battling depression since the 2018 U.S. Open.
Osaka is not scheduled to compete in any WTA tournaments for the remainder of the tennis season.