Last year, Osaka refused to hold her scheduled press conference at Roland Garros following her first-round win. The tournament came down hard on her, fining and threatening to expel her for not carrying out her mandatory media obligations, a stance that was criticised by many. Osaka subsequently withdrew before her second-round match, citing mental health issues, and took a break from the game.
A year later, the Japanese is in a much better space despite not yet finding her mojo. Although an ankle injury forced her to withdraw from Rome and seemed to inhibit her in her first-round loss to Amanda Anisimova at Roland Garros, Osaka leaves the French capital a happy person.
"These past few weeks in Europe have been a real character test, but I’m glad I came overall just really happy this year; I’m leaving with a completely different emotion than the previous one. Ty Paris," she tweeted.
Following her loss in Paris, Osaka is now 12-5 on the year, with the highlight of her season being her run to the Miami final (lost to Iga Swiatek).
"I have a new perspective, and I'm so appreciative that I have this career and platform" - Naomi Osaka after French Open 1R exit
In her Roland Garros opener, Naomi Osaka met familiar foe Amanda Anisimova for the second time in as many Grand Slams. At the Australian Open earlier this year, Anisimova saved two match points before downing the former World No. 1.
The pair's meeting in Paris on Monday was a more straightforward affair, though. The American prevailed in straight sets (7-5, 6-4) in 90 minutes to book a second-round meeting with Donna Vekic. Osaka, meanwhile, slumped to 7-5 at the tournament, having never progressed to the second week.
Nevertheless, a philosophical Osaka said she has a new perspective on life and feels motivated despite her latest loss to Anisimova.
"I feel comfortable in who I am and where I have come from," she said. "There have been ups and downs and I wouldn't change a thing, which really helps to give me inner peace. ... I have a new perspective and I'm so appreciative that I have this career and platform. I'm also really energised and motivated."