“Felt Like I Lost Everything”: Naomi Osaka on Losing at US Open 2019 and Dealing With the Pressure

Published 07/18/2021, 5:30 AM EDT
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann


Tennis star Naomi Osaka has been dominating the headlines in recent years. Her performances on the hard courts have been outstanding. At the age of 23 years, she has already won four Grand Slam titles. Her achievements off the court too have been exceptional.

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Recently, a documentary on Osaka was released on Netflix. In the limited series, she has spoken and revealed various things that have played a part in her life, both on the court and off the court too. However, one thing that caught my attention was her feeling after losing at the US Open 2019.

In the episode, the 23-year-old stated, “For the first time, I was the defending champion. So I felt like so much pressure and stuff.”

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Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 30, 2021, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Romania’s Patricia Maria Tig REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Naomi Osaka won her first Major in 2018 

When she won the US Open in 2018, she was the underdog and played without much pressure. However, when she returned in the following year as the defending champion, there was added baggage on her shoulders.

In recent times, tennis fans have been made aware of the Japanese stars’ vulnerability when it comes to coping up with various kinds of pressures and anxiety. At the French Open this year, she decided to skip post-match press conferences as she was dealing with mental battles.

Mar 31, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a forehand against Maria Sakkari of Greece (not pictured) in a women’s singles quarterfinal in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Coming onto tennis, Osaka started her season in Australia and ended up winning the season’s first Grand Slam tournament. However, in recent months she has been underperforming. She even skipped the Wimbledon Championships this year. She will be next seen representing her nation at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.

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Naomi will be headlining the event along with compatriot Kei Nishikori. It will be interesting to see how she performs after resuming her season after a break.

Watch this story: Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Gael Monfils, and Others with the best shots at Wimbledon Championships 2021

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Rohan Kollare

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Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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