Tennis - Osaka bats aside recent disappointment ahead of U.S. Open title defence


  • Tennis
  • Saturday, 28 Aug 2021

FILE PHOTO: Tennis - French Open - Roland Garros, Paris, France - May 30, 2021 Japan's Naomi Osaka reacts during her first round match against Romania's Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Naomi Osaka did not appear to be too worried over her recent run of poor results in the run up to the U.S. Open and remained confident about chances of successfully defending her title at Flushing Meadows.

The world number three picked up the Australian Open title in February but after withdrawing from the French Open and skipping the grasscourt season to protect her mental health, she has struggled to regain her top form over the past month.

Early defeats at both the Tokyo Olympics and in Cincinnati raised questions about the four-time Grand Slam champion's form.

However, the 23-year-old Japanese power hitter said she was happy with her game.

"I feel pretty happy with how I'm playing. I thought I played two really tough matches in Cincinnati," Osaka told reporters at Flushing Meadows.

"Of course I'm not, like, declaring that I'll do amazing here. For me, I'm the one-match-at-a-time like person."

Osaka is a perennial threat on Arthur Ashe since hoisting her maiden major trophy at the hardcourt major three years ago, as world number one Ash Barty acknowledged.

"Naomi is a pure ball-striker. When she has time to set up particularly after her first serve, she's one of the best first-serve, first-strike players I've ever come up against," said Barty.

"On a hard court, there's not a lot of variation on the bounce. She can set up, trust the bounce, and really swing through the line. I think that's what makes her so damaging on these courts."

Her arrival in Flushing also comes amid new focus on athletes' mental health. Osaka withdrew from the French Open in June after being fined and threatened with expulsion for refusing to attend media conferences, saying her mental health was adversely impacted by the press obligations.

She disclosed that she had suffered from depression for years, drawing applause from her legions of fans for opening up a conversation on mental health.

"I feel like there's a lot of things that I did wrong in that moment, but I'm also the type of person that's very in the moment," said Osaka.

"There's a lot of things that I learned to do better. Of course, I don't feel the same situation will happen again."

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Article type: metered
User Type: anonymous web
User Status:
Campaign ID: 1
Cxense type: free
User access status: 3
Join our Telegram channel to get our Evening Alerts and breaking news highlights
   

Next In Tennis

Tennis-Djokovic gives Serbia 2-0 lead in Davis Cup Finals, Italy down U.S.
Tennis: Federer will face 'reality check' on return: Wilander
Tennis-Spain's Alcaraz out of Davis Cup Finals due to COVID
Tennis-Ymer brothers seal Sweden victory, Croatia and France win
Tennis-Australian Open director expects up to 95% of players to be vaccinated by January
Tennis-Sydney to host ATP Cup as part of bumper Australian Open warm-up schedule
Tennis-Hosts for 2022 Davis Cup Finals to be announced next week - ITF
Tennis-Serbia motivated by 2019 Davis Cup heartbreak, says Djokovic
Tennis: Sabalenka needs to find balance for major success, says Dokic
Tennis: Spain's Bautista Agut out of Davis Cup with injury, replaced by Ramos

Others Also Read


Vouchers