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“I Kind of Have That Itch”: Naomi Osaka Promises Her Return to Competition Will Be Soon

By Jen Campbell @TennisLife_Mag

The four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka said she is feeling excited about returning to the competition soon.

After losing to Leylah Fernandez in the last 3rd round of the US Open, Naomi Osaka decided to take a break from competition to focus on mental health issues and pressures from the media. At the time, Naomi Osaka did not reveal when she would return to tennis.

Something to look forward to

However, recently, the 23-year-old tennis player shared on NBA legend LeBron James' show on HBO, "The Shop" that she still loves tennis and wants to return to playing in the near future.

I know I'm gonna play again, probably soon because I kind of have that itch again. But it wouldn't really matter to me if I won or lost. I'd just have the joy of being back on the court. Just to, like, you know, that I'm doing it for myself.

Naomi Osaka has now dropped to 7th place on the WTA rankings. The Japanese tennis player said that the difficult matches had heavily affected her, so she needed a period of rest to refresh her spirit.

Naomi Osaka on what changed for her

Without a doubt, Osaka is already one of the most successful players on the Tour. This year, at the ripe young age of 23, she also became the highest-paid women athlete in the world. So what went wrong for her this year?

Osaka said,

I used to love the competitive nature of this sport. The more I compete in a dramatic and prolonged match, the more excited I feel. After that, however, I started to feel that the longer the game went on, the more intense the feeling of tension and stress became. That's why I need a period of rest so I can get back to being myself.

Previously, Naomi Osaka had to withdraw from the Grand Slam Roland Garros tournament. According to the Japanese player, the rude media at the mandatory post-match pressers was too much for her.

Former world No. 1 Roger Federer recently made a call for the media to change the way it interacts with players, especially as mental health issues are a hot topic.

In an interview with the British magazine GQ on Monday, Federer said,

I think the tennis players, the tournament organizers and the media need to come together and find a new way of working, a way that works for all parties involved. We need a revolution. Or at least an improvement on the current state of affairs. I myself at times, although feeling very disappointed, still have to act in a certain harmonious way in front of the press. But the media needs to remember that, as tennis players like us, in addition to being professional athletes, we are also human with personal feelings that need to be respected.

Several American tennis players including Sloane Stephens and Shelby Rogers also spoke out at the US Open about how the media and press practices have seriously affected the mental health and psychological well-being of athletes. encourage participation.

Thankfully, she seems to be feeling better and wanting to make her return to the WTA Tour. However, she is yet to announce an exact return date.

Osaka has already announced that she won't be playing at Indian Wells, but fans are still hopeful to see her before the 2021 season ends. Do you think Osaka will play again this year?

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