‘Tennis Season Is a Bit Too Long’ – Naomi Osaka Expresses Her Desire to Play Fewer Matches on the Tour

Published 03/12/2022, 3:33 PM EST
Naomi Osaka of Japan hits the ball against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the women’s singles final match on day 13 of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports | Credits: Reuters

Japanese superstar tennis player Naomi Osaka had a terrible start to 2022, after not playing most of 2021. At the Australian Open, she lost in the third round to Amanda Anisimova. Since then, the former World No.1 didn’t play a single match on the tour before the Indian Wells Masters.

She probably would have missed Indian Wells as well, because of her current WTA ranking. However, she got a wild card at the Indian Wells and she won her first match since the Australian Open loss. Later, at the press conference, she said some interesting things about playing a very few matches on the tour. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 19, 2022 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her second round match against Madison Brengle of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Naomi Osaka wants to play very few matches on the tour

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In her return match, Naomi Osaka fought hard for an impressive win against Sloane Stephens. After losing the first set 6-3, Naomi made an impressive comeback to win the next two sets, winning the match 3-6,6-1,6-2. 

However, at the press conference, Osaka expressed her views about playing fewer matches on the tour. She said, “Honestly, I feel like the tennis season is a bit too long, but that’s just my personal opinion. I feel like I’m the type of person that, this is also a bad thing about me, like I want to play the least amount of tournaments as possible, but in order to do that, I have to do well at every tournament. So I create kind of this pressure internally always.”

“I don’t even know, like what is the regular calendar, amount of tournaments,” Naomi further said.

Notably, Naomi didn’t play any tournaments after the Australian Open, skipping WTA 1000 tournament in Doha and also WTA 500 event in Dubai before participating in Indian Wells.

Naomi is happy with lower expectations from people

While Naomi had a great start in 2021, winning the Australian Open, her next few tournaments didn’t go so well. She withdrew from the French Open as she wanted to skip all the pre and post-match interviews, citing social anxiety and mental health issues. Later, she took an indefinite break from tennis, missing Wimbledon as well.

Although she played in the Olympics and the US Open, her performances were quite disappointing. Before the Indian Wells, she spoke about having low expectations from people now and she felt happy about it. Also, she feels quite calm and relaxed on the tour. Even though she lost at the Australian Open, she thought her performance was pretty good. 

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Maybe playing fewer matches on tour will help Naomi’s mental health, and that could be good for her. However, lack of match practice could also hamper her chances of winning a Grand Slam again. Only time will tell whether this decision will help Naomi in the future.

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Watch This Story: Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, Naomi Osaka, and other tennis star’s biggest controversies in 2021

Can Naomi dig deep to win her 2nd BNP Paribas Open title this year? Let us know in the comments.

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Debkinkar Maity

719 articles

Debkinkar Maity is a Tennis Author at EssentiallySports. His desire to become a sports journalist inspired him to take up a degree in journalism and mass communication, and he hasn't looked back ever since. Following the sport for over a decade now, Debkinkar has an ardent love for Roger Federer.

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