Naomi Osaka has had a horrible few weeks or months rather, being in the news for one reason or another ever since she exited the French Open back in May citing mental health as a reason.
The Japanese world number 2 then skipped Wimbledon too, for which she cited anxiety and depression. She returned to her home country for the Tokyo Olympics, where she was expected to make a deep run in to the tournament, even reach the final and win it. She even participated in the opening ceremony of the tournament. While she looked comfortable and assured in the initial 2 rounds, Naomi ultimately fell in the 3rd round to Czech international Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets, losing 6-1, 6-4 to the world number 42.
She yesterday hit out at those who criticized her, putting this out on her Twitter account:
“I feel like my attitude wasn’t that great because I don’t really know how to cope with that pressure so that’s the best I could have done in that situation,” Osaka said the press after her exit from Tokyo Olympics.
Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka were predicted to leave a lasting impression on the Tokyo Olympics. And they did — but just not in a way many had imagined. This was the Games where Biles, the American gymnast, would confirm her greatest-of-all-time tag beyond doubt. She simply had to turn up.
Biles speaks out for Osaka
But when the moment came on Tuesday, Biles pulled out of the team competition, citing her state of mind. And then, she withdrew from Thursday’s individual all-around competition, fearing it would be a risk to push through her dangerous routines while lacking confidence.
Her decision came hours after tennis star Osaka, the face of the Tokyo Olympics, lost in the third round of the singles competition. The Japanese favourite, who lit the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony, also cited the mental toll of her profession as the reason for her early exit.
“I put my mental health first because if you don’t, you’re not going to enjoy your sport and you’re not going to succeed as much as you want to,” Biles told a media conference.