‘I’m Mentally Weak’ – Naomi Osaka Poured Her Heart Out on How She Wept After a Hard-Hitting Kobe Bryant Reality in 2021

Published 11/26/2022, 3:05 PM EST

Losing basketball legend, Kobe Bryant was one of the biggest losses the sporting world has suffered this century. He inspired millions around the world to chase their dreams. One person among those millions of people is the Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka, who looked up to him and wanted to seek guidance from him. However, she thought she was too weak and hence did not contact the LA Lakers legend.

But what she did not know at that time was that she would not be able to contact her idol ever again. And the regret was way too heavy for the young tennis player to carry.

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Naomi Osaka felt mentally weak to contact Kobe Bryant 

It has been almost three years since we lost the basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, but the wound is still fresh in the minds of his fans. Thinking about the loss is heartbreaking for everyone. He was one of the torchbearers of the NBA, and people admired him for his tenacity. That includes Naomi Osaka as well.

In February 2020, Osaka talked about the loss. With tears in her eyes, she said, “I’m feeling like I let him down.” After winning the Australian Open, her run in 2021  was not going great, and this made her doubt herself.

Mar 12, 2022; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Naomi Osaka (JPN) is emotional as she talks to referee after a fan disrupted before the start of her 2nd round match against Veronika Kudermetova (RUS) at the BNP Paribas open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

She said, “I’m supposed to carry on his mentality in tennis, and here I am…losing matches because I’m mentally weak.” The player wanted to confide in him and seek guidance, however, it was too late. She said, “I didn’t want to feel like a loser, and now I’ll never have the chance to talk to him again.”

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Despite whatever she said, we all know, had Bryant been alive, he would have supported Osaka. He would have asked her to continue fighting and that eventually, she will get back up.

Can Osaka regain her form in 2023? 

The Japanese player has experienced a downward trend since her last Grand Slam title in 2021 at the Australian Open. After that, she has not won any major title and 2022 season did not go in her favor. Her best performance was at the Miami Open, where she reached the finals. However, the incumbent world no. 1 Iga Swiatek defeated her there. After that, she faced multiple injuries which hindered her progress on the Tour this season.

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WATCH THIS STORY: Rise of a superstar – Iga Swiatek’s victorious moments on the WTA tour

With 2023 just around the corner, do you think Osaka will be able to get back on track and eventually compete for the top honors? Let us know in the comments below.

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Shivali Sharma

857 articles

Shivali Sharma is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. She has pursued her Master's in history from Himachal University, but her love for the game has driven her to write about tennis. Shivali is a huge fan of Naomi Osaka and admires Osaka not only for her on-court performances, but also for her off-court actions.

Edited By: Tony Thomas

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