"This year has been not the best year for me but I've learned a lot about myself,"said Naomi Osaka in Tokyo Photo: AFP
tennis

Struggling Osaka aiming to break slump as Pan Pacific Open returns

16 Comments

Struggling Naomi Osaka admitted Monday that she had gone through "more down than up" this year as she tries to break out of her slump at her home Pan Pacific Open this week.

The former world number one and four-time Grand Slam champion has plummeted to 48 in the women's tennis world rankings after a wretched run that has seen her crash out in the first round of her last three tournaments.

The Japanese 24-year-old has not won a title since last year's Australian Open and has been hampered this season with injury.

But Osaka is hoping to right the ship at the WTA event in Tokyo where she is defending champion, albeit from three years ago as the tournament returns for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.

She will face stiff competition from a field that includes U.S. Open semifinalist Caroline Garcia of France, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan and Spain's world number four Paula Badosa.

"This year has been not the best year for me but I've learned a lot about myself," Osaka said, adding that she was "happy to be healthy".

"Life is ups and downs, and this year was more down than up, but overall I'm pretty happy with where I am now."

Osaka has been outside the top 10 all year and endured first-round defeats at both the French and U.S. Opens.

She withdrew from Wimbledon with an Achilles injury, after originally considering skipping the tournament because ranking points would not be awarded.

Osaka admitted that her fall from the sport's summit had been difficult to handle.

"It was kind of hard at first, just because I feel like I should be somewhere where I'm obviously currently not," she said. "I think for me it's more about being at peace with myself. I know that I'm here for a reason."

Osaka said she was looking forward to playing in front of Japanese fans again after taking part in last year's Tokyo Olympics behind closed doors, but would have to "trust in my forehand more" to rebuild her confidence after her poor season.

She will begin her campaign against Australia's world number 55 Daria Saville in the first round.

Osaka paid tribute to tennis legend Serena Williams, who retired after the U.S. Open, and said she had "gotten over trying to fill people's shoes".

"I don't think you can ever do that because everyone is unique, and we're all forging our own paths and we're all on our own journeys," said Osaka. "It's really incredible all the stuff she's done for this sport and beyond that. Just watching her as a businesswoman is really cool."

© 2022 AFP

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

16 Comments
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Welcome home Naomi!

But why the headphones? Are they for language translation?

-13 ( +4 / -17 )

too much sponsorship to much money , not enough motivation

9 ( +17 / -8 )

wtfjapan...

too much sponsorship too much money , too many cakes, not enough motivation.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

Washed up USA tennis player. Give it up and live happily in your 7million USD mansion in LA.

1 ( +8 / -7 )

There are slumps, and then there’s finished.

you make the call

5 ( +11 / -6 )

Welcome home Naomi!

This isn't her "home". She's been living in Beverly Hills and before that, in Florida. She doesn't come to Japan often, and when she does it's for business.

8 ( +12 / -4 )

She should go back home. She got too involved in politics. Everyone I know who supported her at the very beginning don't support her now.

3 ( +9 / -6 )

Nothing to do with being black. Everything to do with being an entitled one hit wonder who wants everything without working for it.

Hmm... From Wikipedia...

Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam singles champion, with two Australian Open and two US Open titles. Her seven titles on the WTA Tour also include two at the Premier Mandatory level.

Now, I'm not an expert on any sport, but I figure that does take some "working for it" and doesn't make one a "one hit wonder". But sure, openly supporting BLM and taking a break from work to look after her mental health is what makes one entitled.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Everyone I know who supported her at the very beginning don't support her now.

Admit it - because she was winning Majors back then. Fair-weather fans at their worst.

If Naomi starts winning, you and others will be back on the bandwagon.

And anyone out there calling a 4-time Major winner a "one hit wonder" is deluded at best.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

Eliminated in the second round, maybe third at best.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

So much hate whenever a story about her is written. Fact is, she is a highly successful athlete and all your jealousy and hatred can't change that. If she never wins another major, she would still be more successful than ninety percent of the people who have played the game. You can't take away that nor the Slams she has already won.

-3 ( +6 / -9 )

@TokyoJoe Naomi is a great tennis player she has won major Grand Slams and you called her washed up? Some people get paid doing what they love win or lose, some people get paid nothing for printing nonsense. Yes, she could happily live ANYWHERE she likes even in her 7 million USA mansion in Beverly Hills she put in the work she earned it and if the sponsor didn't like it they could stop sponsoring her, after all they sought to gain money just from her name alone. Money talks Bs walks!!

Washed up USA tennis player. Give it up and live happily in your 7million USD mansion in LA.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Jim @ 17th August

"Osaka will reach semi-final of U.S. Open."

That went well, or maybe he omitted to quote the year.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Life is ups and downs, and this year was more down than up, but overall I'm pretty happy with where I am now."

I doubt athletes can be happy without winning. I doubt athetes can win without sacrifice and pain. Perhaps being an athlete is no longer very important for her?

She is 48th in the world rankings, but she says she is "pretty happy with where I am now." But at the same time, she says "I feel like I should be somewhere where I'm obviously currently not."

As a fan I want her to win, but it's her life after all.

"I think for me it's more about being at peace with myself. I know that I'm here for a reason."

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

That picture of her says it all.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is a chance to become a more significant tennis player by overcoming this slump.

I believe in her.

p.s.

This picture made me laugh.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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