Naomi Osaka shot to fame on the WTA tour by beating 23-time Grand Slam champion, Serena Williams in the finals of 2018 US Open. Since then, the Japanese girl has been consistent, across tournament and has beaten the very best players on the circuit.
Osaka even attained the No.1 rankings in the WTA charts and is now the holder of four Grand Slam titles. Although she did start the year by winning the Australian Open, it has been a very rough 2021 for the 23-year-old.
On the eve of the French Open, Osaka made headlines for boycotting a mandatory press conference, owing to which the authorities were forced to come down hard on her. Later, Osaka even pulled out of the event at Roland Garros, citing stress and mental health issues.
The Japanese star also opted out of the Wimbledon Championships and opined that she was struggling to come to terms with the expectations and pressure. While she made a return at the Tokyo Olympics, she was only going through the motions.
Another quick exit at the recently concluded 2021 US Open too didn’t help matters, as the defending champion stated that she is not finding happiness on the court, owing to which she will take an indefinite break from the sport.
As a result of not being able to defend her title in New York, Osaka lost 1870 points. Moreover, she also lost 470 points from her Pan Pacific Open victory in 2019 (tournament got called off). In the process, the former World No.1 slipped past the top-5 in a very long time.
With a troubled and turbulent season, Osaka who was once ranked two after her victory in Melbourne, dropped to No.5 a week ago and after the updated rankings, she is placed at No.8.
Will Osaka finish 2021 inside top-10?
To make matter worse, Osaka only has 4326 points and with the likes of Grand Slam champions Garbine Muguruza and Petra Kvitova lurking around at No.9 and 10, it will be challenge for Osaka to stay in the top-10.
But perhaps, the next few marquee tournaments will throw up more clarity on Osaka’s return to tour. Nonetheless, the climb upwards seems very shaky.