“I Am Harder on Myself”: Naomi Osaka Opens Up on Dealing With Pressure

Published 03/14/2021, 8:00 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her semi final match against Serena Williams of the U.S. REUTERS/Kelly Defina


World No. 2 Naomi Osaka is one of the best players in the game, and her career has a long way to go yet. At such a young age, she’s done wonders in the game and is on course to earn the ‘legendary’ status. From 2018 onwards, she has won a Grand Slam title in each of the four seasons, comprising two US Open titles (2018 and 2020) and two Australian Open titles (2019 and 2021). 

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Recently, Naomi Osaka reflected on the various kinds of pressures she deals with. She indicated that she is hard on herself and that people expect a lot from her. At the same time, given her status in the sport now, her opponent has to bear the pressure of stopping her as well. So there is a similar kind of pressure on Naomi’s competitors, too.

Tennis – Australian Open – Women’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 20, 2021, Japan’s Naomi Osaka gives an interview as she celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match against Jennifer Brady of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Naomi Osaka: “There are a lot of expectations from me”

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Speaking on this issue, the 23-year-old stated, “I mean fine, but sometimes I face that. I would say that I am harder on myself than sensitive to outside noise. Obviously, there are a lot of expectations for me, but I’m probably not the only one feeling that pressure. And it may be a little different from what my opponent feels. There is no way a person can walk onto a court and feel nothing, but you learn to accept it.”

When Osaka won her first Grand Slam title, it was against all odds. She was up against the mighty task of dethroning Serena Williams in the final of the US Open. At one point, Williams had an altercation with the chair umpire following which the crowd started making a ruckus in support of Serena. This made Osaka’s task all the more difficult, but she marched on nonetheless.

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She was certainly perturbed by the whole saga, but that did not stop her from playing her brand of tennis and running away to her first Grand Slam crown. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her first round match against Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova REUTERS/Loren Elliott

For a player to win their first Grand Slam title under such circumstances is nothing short of admirable. Since that win, Osaka has added another three Grand Slam titles to her list and is certain to add more in the future. 

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DIVE DEEPER

“Really Can’t Sleep At Night”: Naomi Osaka Reveals Stress Ahead of Grand Slam Clashes

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Rohan Kollare

582 articles

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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