Naomi Osaka feels the 'itch' to play professional tennis again
After taking a hiatus from professional tennis after her loss to eventual runner-up Leylah Fernandez at the US Open, Naomi Osaka is open to returning to the WTA Tour. This will most likely be a permanent return after her underwhelming comeback after missing Wimbledon.
At 23 years of age, Osaka is still young but she is an experienced player. She has been in the Tour’s top tier for a long while now which has taken a toll on her mental health. This has been a hot topic in sports over the past few months and it is vital to conversations about sports’ impact on its fans.
With Osaka’s issues, she opened up a healthy conversation about athletes and their mental health which is needed in this era. It was obvious that Osaka was having troubles during the past few tournaments which is why it was understandable that she had to take a break from the Tour.
Now, she is open to coming back. When asked about it, she said, ‘I know I’m gonna play again, probably soon because I kind of have that itch again. 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’.
The former world no. 1 is still one of the best players in the world even if she didn’t make it far in her latest event. She lost to Leylah who ended up becoming the runner-up at the US Open second only to Emma Raducanu.
Osaka also detailed her struggles over the past few months about tennis. She still loves the sport but she wasn’t happy when she played recently. With her break, it will surely reignite her love for the sport which is a healthy approach.
She said, ‘I wasn’t playing to make myself happy. 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’.
Now, Osaka will probably return soon which will mark another contender in the Tour. It will be fun to have her around again.
Words: Cholo Martin