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"Going to take a break from playing for a while" - Naomi Osaka after her 3r loss at US Open 2021

<a href='https://www.sportskeeda.com/player/naomi-osaka' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Naomi Osaka</a> was beaten by teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez in the third round of the 2021 US Open
Naomi Osaka was beaten by teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez in the third round of the 2021 US Open
Rupin Kale
FEATURED WRITER

Third seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka suffered a shock defeat against teenager Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the 2021 US Open on Friday. The 23-year-old is now likely to take a break from the sport.

Osaka has been outspoken and honest about her mental health struggles over the last few months. The Japanese star has evidently tried to prioritize her mental health, starting with her refusal to do press conferences at Roland Garros and leading up to her eventual withdrawal from two Grand Slams.

Osaka returned to the court at the Tokyo Olympics and to the WTA tour in Cincinnati, but the results haven't gone in her favor so far. After her loss to Fernandez in New York, the 23-year-old revealed she has been struggling to enjoy her time on the court because she has been fixating on the results.

That seems to be the primary reason behind her decision to take a break from the sport.

"How do I go around saying this? 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," she explained. "I don't think that's normal. I didn't really want to cry, but basically I feel like..."

Osaka teared up during the exchange and eventually concluded the conference by mentioning her desire to step away for a whlie.

"This is very hard to articulate," she added. "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 (tearing up). Sorry. I think I'm going to take a break from playing for a while."

"Pretty sure my return stats were really horrendous" - Naomi Osaka on her inability to break Leylah Fernandez's serve

Leylah Fernandez won 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4 against Naomi Osaka
Leylah Fernandez won 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4 against Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka started the match well, winning the first set against Leylah Fernandez and even serving for the match at 6-5. However, her game unraveled after that, and the Canadian took advantage of the change in momentum.

Fernandez served well, winning 78% points on the first delivery. Osaka struggled to read her opponent's serve in the second half of the match and ended up winning just 25 receiving points throughout.

At the press conference, the Japanese was asked if Fernandez being a left-hander was a contributing factor, but she disagreed.

"I honestly didn't really find it that troubling like when we were in the groundstrokes," Osaka said. "But I can't even tell you how it feels to return it because I don't think I could have returned a ball against a righty today either. I'm pretty sure my return stats were really horrendous. It wasn't like she was serving bombs, so I'm not really sure what to say."

Naomi Osaka's frustration was visible during the match, as in a rare show of emotion, she threw her racket on the court. She apologized for that in her presser, and admitted that she has been feeling anxious when put under pressure lately.

"I'm really sorry about that. I'm not really sure why. I was telling myself to be calm, but I feel like maybe there was a boiling point," she said. "Normally, 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."

Edited by Musab Abid
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