“It’s Unfortunate”: Mardy Fish Sympathizes With Naomi Osaka After US Open 2021 Exit

Published 09/06/2021, 2:09 PM EDT
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)


Former World No.1 Naomi Osaka has recently opened up about her struggles off the court. The Japanese star spoke about how she faced depression, and wasn’t enjoying her tennis for a while. After her exit from the US Open 2021, she announced that she is unsure when she will play next. Another person who underwent many problems mentally during his time, was American Mardy Fish. The former player has now backed Osaka’s decision.

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Mardy Fish comes in support of Naomi Osaka

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At the 2021 French Open, Osaka made a bold call by deciding to skip press conferences, owing to mental health. This decision came under a lot of criticism, following which she opted out of the tournament. Following this, Osaka took a small break, before returning at the Tokyo Olympics. After an unsuccessful campaign, she played another tournament before heading to Flushing Meadows for the US Open. Being the defending champion, there was added pressure on her.

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The 23-year-old breezed through the first few rounds, before running into young Canadian southpaw Leylah Fernandez. After claiming the opening set, Osaka crashed to a damaging loss. After she got knocked out, Mardy Fish had a piece of advice for her. In a recent interview, he said “I would tell her [Osaka], do whatever makes you happy. She doesn’t have to hit another tennis ball the rest of her life, and if that makes her happy, that’s what she should do. I think she would regret that, but it’s whatever makes her want to get up in the morning and be happy.”

‘Stuff outside the court has gotten to her’: Fish

Mardy Fish himself has recently spoken about his mental health openly, and even has a Netflix documentary regarding the same. He has spoken to Naomi Osaka multiple times on the topic, and had some valuable things to say to the 4-time major winner. “Whatever she’s been doing for the last couple of months, or however long it’s been, is not doing that for her right now. So hopefully she finds peace and comfort,” empathized Fish.

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Sep 3, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan hits to Leylah Fernandez of Canada on day five of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

He proceeded to talk about her latest press conference, and offered his support. “That last press conference was her being really open. I think it’s really important to put yourself first and what you feel is important to you and makes you happy, and hopefully tennis is in there for her. I think it is, I know she understands her place in history. But the stuff outside the court has gotten to her more than just wins and losses, and it’s unfortunate, but it’s important for her to make sure she feels comfortable again and happy again.”

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We hope to see Naomi Osaka back to winning ways sooner rather than later. More than anything, if she can stay happy, then she can put her best foot forward. All’s well that ends well, which is how Osaka hopefully approaches her next stint!

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

241 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is a tennis and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football, and table tennis. Apart from his professional desires, Sankalp does voluntary service with his friends to feed hungry animals on a regular basis.

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