TENNIS

Japanese former number one continues her competition hiatus

After the US Open failure, Naomi Osaka reported she would be absent from this year's Indian Wells Masters, a tournament she won back in 2018.

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Osaka withdraws from Indian Wells after US Open collapse

Naomi Osaka expectedly departed from the next tournament of the calendar Masters series at Indian Wells, noting a break from competitive tennis following her US Open meltdown.

The tournament, scheduled from October 4-17, will see its first edition two years after the 2020 edition was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The fiasco in the US Open title defense had a significant impact on Osaka's mental health. The third-round loss 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 from the eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez earlier this month just revealed the frailty of her state.

Up a set and serving for the match at 6-5 on Arthur Ashe Stadium, four-time major champion Osaka lost her cool and composure after throwing her racquet three times in an unsuccessful second-set tie-break.

Between boos in New York, Japanese star Osaka entered a brawl with the spectators after hitting a ball in their direction at Flushing Meadows.

After the loss, Osaka told reporters she planned to "take a break from playing for a while."

She added: "I feel like for me 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. I didn't really want to cry.

"I feel like… this is very hard to articulate. 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 [tearing up]. Sorry."

It comes following a difficult couple of months due to mental health concerns as a result of "long bouts of depression" since winning the 2018 US Open.

Osaka withdrew from May's French Open having won her first-round match, after she was fined and threatened with further punishment – and possible expulsion from the grand slam – for skipping obligatory media duties.

She subsequently pulled out of Wimbledon before returning for the Olympic Games, though she suffered a surprise loss on home soil in Tokyo and was reduced to tears during a news conference in Cincinnati.