“A Bit Nervous”: Naomi Osaka Makes First Public Appearance at ESPYs Since Withdrawing From French Open 2021

Published 07/11/2021, 2:20 AM EDT
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


Since her withdrawal from the French Open, Naomi Osaka has kept away from the spotlight. However, at the ESPYs, the spotlight returned on the reigning Australian Open champion as she won her first ESPY Award.

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The World No. 2 kept her acceptance speech short and simple with the crowd cheering her on.

Naomi Osaka wins ESPY for ‘Best Female Athlete’ in 2021

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The Japanese star won the Australian Open earlier this year in dominant fashion, dropping just one set in the entire tournament. Prior to that, she won the US Open in 2020 before withdrawing from the French Open because of a hamstring injury.

While Osaka won her first-round match at this year’s French Open, she later withdrew from the tournament due to mental health issues. However, the World No. 2 made her first public appearance at the 29th edition of the ESPYs in New York yesterday.

She added her ‘Best Female Athlete’ ESPY to the Laureus Award for Sportswoman of the Year that she won earlier this year. With the crowd cheering her on, the 23-year-old admitted being nervous while feeling grateful for the award.

She said“I just really want to not say a long speech because I’m a bit nervous. But I just want to say thank you ESPN, thank you all the supporters, thank you to my fans.

“I know this year has been really – it hasn’t even finished – but it’s been really tough for a lot of us. And, for me, I just want to say I really love you guys and this is my first ESPYs.”

Osaka ended her speech by appreciating the company that surrounded her at the prestigious event. “So, it’s really cool to be surrounded by all these incredible athletes. I think all of you guys are really cool, and I watch some of you on TV. So, it’s really surreal to be here.”

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Can Osaka make a golden comeback at the Tokyo Olympics?

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In just two weeks, Osaka will compete at the Tokyo Olympics. With hard courts at the Ariake Tennis Park, the World No. 2 could be a gold medal favorite as the reigning US Open and Australian Open champion.

Tennis – Australian Open – Women’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match against Jennifer Brady of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

However, with the Japanese star staying away from competitive action for almost six weeks, one may wonder how she will cope with the competition.

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WATCH STORY: Naomi Osaka’s Best Moments at Australian Open 2021: From Saving Match Points to Lifting the Title

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Sanket Nair

333 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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