Why Is Naomi Osaka Not Playing WTA Finals 2021?

Published 11/09/2021, 2:30 PM EST
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 03: Naomi Osaka of Japan looks dejected during her match against Leylah Fernandez of Canada in the third round of the women’s singles at the US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 03, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)


Naomi Osaka got off to a flying start in 2021, winning her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open 2021. In the semi-final, she beat Serena Williams in what seemed like a ‘passing of the torch moment’. However, things started going downhill for the Japanese superstar as the French Open approached. 

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Naomi Osaka decided to skip attending press conferences because of the negative impact they had on her mental health. Prior to her second match round, she withdrew from the event and due to that, she ended up losing on points. 

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Naomi Osaka skipped important events in 2021

After that, Naomi decided to skip the Wimbledon Championships because of mental health issues. Even at the US Open, she lost in the initial rounds and was unable to defend her title in the final Grand Slam event of the season.

Due to the sub-standard performances and the off-field issues combining, Osaka has failed to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals 2021. She began the season as the seeded no. 3 at the Australian Open. However, with the events that have unfolded this season, Osaka has now slipped to World No. 13. 

As a result, she has failed to qualify as only the world’s top eight players are part of this event. Needless to say, Naomi’s mental health has been taking an unfortunate toll on her performances.  

PARIS, FRANCE May 29. Coach Wim Fissette talks to Naomi Osaka of Japan while practicing on court five in preparation for the 2021 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on May 29th 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Her last tournament was the US Open. Soon after, during the post-match press conference, she announced that she wanted to take a break from the sport. A distressed Osaka stated, “This is very hard to articulate. Basically, I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry.”

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“I don’t feel happy”: Osaka after the US Open 

Naomi has been struggling with these issues for a while and the 24-year-old has shown tremendous bravery in addressing the matter in the open. She made frank admissions in her post US Open interviews about the state of her mental health.  

The former World No. 1 added, “I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while. How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently when I win, I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.”

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We hope Osaka finds her rhythm and regroups herself to get ready for the upcoming 2022 season. It will be interesting to see if she can defend her title in the Australian Open 2022. 

Watch this story: The Journey of Roger Federer to the Elite Billionaire’s Club

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Rohan Kollare

1359 articles

Rohan Kollare is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Rohan has studied Sports Management and has 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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