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TENNIS

Naomi Osaka expects to return to tennis 'soon'

Having taken a break following her US Open exit, Naomi Osaka expects to return to action in the near future.

Update:
Naomi Osaka expects to return to tennis 'soon'
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Naomi Osaka is going to play tennis again and expects to feed her itch to return to the tour "soon".

Osaka said in the wake of her shock US Open third-round defeat to teenager Leylah Fernandez that she would take a break from the sport.

"I honestly don't know when I'm going to play my next tennis match. I think I'm going to take a break from playing for a while," Osaka told her post-match media conference following that loss.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 3, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan serves against Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada (not pictured) on day five of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Bu
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FILE PHOTO: Sep 3, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan serves against Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada (not pictured) on day five of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff BuGeoff BurkeUSA TODAY Sports

She subsequently pulled out of Indian Wells but the four-time grand slam champion, who withdrew from the French Open back in May to protect her mental health, does not anticipate her absence being an extended one.

"I know I'm gonna play again, probably soon because I kind of have that itch again," Osaka told HBO's 'The Shop'.

"But it wouldn't really matter to me if I won or lost. I'd just have the joy of being back on the court.

"Just to, like, you know, that I'm doing it for myself."

Explaining her unhappiness on the court, Osaka added: "I started to feel like that power was being taken away from me.

"And the way that I felt, like, I wasn't playing to make myself happy and I was more concerned about … what would people say about me.

"I used to love the competition and just being competitive. Like if I were to play a long match, the longer it was the more fun it was for me. "And then I just started to feel – recently – the longer it was the more stressed out I became. But I just needed a break to go within myself."

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