Osaka: “I haven’t had fun playing tennis since Australia”

Published by Reuters

Naomi Osaka (Getty Images)
Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka says she has not enjoyed her tennis since her victory in Melbourne.

World No.2 Naomi Osaka says the last few months have been “the worst of my life” and she hasn’t had fun on the tennis court since winning the Australian Open in January.

Osaka’s triumph in Melbourne was her second successive Grand Slam singles title following her victory at last year’s US Open and propelled the 21-year-old to No.1 in the world.

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Since then the Japanese has failed to win a tournament, lost her top ranking to Australian Ashleigh Barty and crashed out at Wimbledon in the first round to Yulia Putintseva.

She also fell early at the French Open, going down in the third round to unseeded Czech Katerina Siniakova.

On Thursday, Osaka posted a message to her fans on social media explaining her recent dip in form.

“The last few months have been really tough for me tennis wise, but thankfully I’m surrounded by people I love and who love me back (hopefully hahaha),” she wrote.

“In that regard I’m very thankful for them because whenever things go wrong I blame myself 100%, I have a tendency to shut down because I don’t want to burden anyone with my thoughts or problems.

“Unexpectedly, (through) the worst months of my life have also had some of the best moments cause I’ve met new people.

“That being said I can honestly reflect and say I probably haven’t had fun playing tennis since Australia and I’m finally coming to terms with that while relearning that fun feeling.

“I’ve learned a lot about myself and I feel like I grew so much as a person this past year(s) so I’m really excited what the future looks like on and off the court.

“See you in the U.S. swing.”

Osaka will be looking to regain her form ahead of the US Open later this month, starting with competing at the Rogers Cup in Toronto next week.

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