“Take All the Time” – Billie Jean King Extends Support Towards Naomi Osaka After Shock US Open Exit

Published 09/05/2021, 1:25 AM EDT
Sep 3, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan gestures after missing a shot against Leylah Annie Fernandez of Canada (not pictured) on day five of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports


Naomi Osaka suffered a shock defeat to Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open. Despite being the defending champion, the Japanese star looked out of her element in her match against Fernandez, losing in three sets.

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After the match, Osaka announced she would take an indefinite leave of absence from the sport. While this caps off a tumultuous year for the 23-year-old, former Grand Slam champion Billie Jean King lent her support to Osaka.

Billie Jean King sends supportive tweet to Naomi Osaka

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Although Osaka won the Australian Open this year, her season turned around in the French Open. After winning her opening match, the Japanese star withdrew from the tournament citing mental health issues.

While she brought mental health in the spotlight, she returned to the court in the Tokyo Olympics. Since then, the World No. 3 struggled for form, failing to win a medal in Tokyo and suffering a shock exit in the Cincinnati Open.

Aug 30, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan enters to play Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic on day one of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

After her loss to Fernandez, Osaka admitted she will take an indefinite leave of absence from the sport. She mentioned time away from the sport would help her cope with the issues she faces at this point in time. While fans gave several opinions, 12-time Grand Slam champion shared a tweet to support Osaka.

The tweet readTake all the time you need to recover, rest, and heal, @naomiosaka. Sending you love and support.”

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ESPN tennis commentator believes Osaka showed signs of needing a break

Pam Shriver, one of ESPN’s top tennis commentators, mentioned how Osaka looked like a player who needed a break. In addition, she mentioned how a break can help players by mentioning Ashleigh Barty’s sabbatical last year.

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Shriver said“It seems she as if [Osaka] needs and wants to take a break,’’ Shriver told The Post. “It been very helpful to take a sabbatical to rest during your career. Barty is the best example how it can help. She took a break until she felt ready.

“Of course, you say things after an emotional unexpected loss that can change in a week or two, but given her last few months, it appears she is wanting and needing one.”

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With Osaka’s announcement, her future this season remains uncertain. As of right now, she looks most likely to skip the Indian Wells and year-ending WTA Finals.

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

641 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, 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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