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TENNIS

Naomi Osaka through ‘more downs than ups’ this year

The Japanese star will play the Pan Pacific Open this week, as we take stock of her results so far this year.

Update:
The Japanese star, who will play the Pan Pacific Open this week, took stock of her results this year.

All eyes were on Naomi Osaka at the beginning of the year, especially after she missed the French Open and Wimbledon in 2021 due to mental health issues, something that also affected her performance at the Tokyo Olympics.

After dealing with her issues off the court, the former world number one admitted that it has been a difficult year as she returns to tennis for the first time since her first-round loss at the US Open against Danielle Collins.

The 24-year-old was knocked out of the French Open - like the US Open - in the first round, missing Wimbledon, and making it only as far as the third round of the Australian Open back in January.

Osaka, a former four-time major champion has dropped to 48th in the rankings, and said that “this year has not been the best year for me but I’ve learned a lot about myself”.

“Life is ups and downs, and this year was more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now”, she added.

The public’s expectations, her biggest opponent

The 24-year-old Japanese star, who has not won a title since last year’s Australian Open, also stated that she was “over trying to fill people’s shoes”, after being seen as the successor to Serena Williams, who retired from tennis following the US Open.

“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,” Osaka said.

Despite her performances being somewhat disappointing this season due to her mental health issues, Osaka, who claimed her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2018, takes a positive outlook about her situation: “This year has not been the best year for me but I’ve learned a lot about myself”.

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