Last year in 2021, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka had a rollercoaster of a year. From mental-health breaks to her loss at the 2021 U.S. Open, as well as going from being the first ranked player in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) to the 14th. Despite all of these things, she is back in action and ready to reclaim her number one spot.
Naomi Osaka was born to a Japanese mother and a Haitian father and turned to professional tennis at 16 years old. With the inspiration of another professional tennis player, Serena Williams, Naomi won the Rising Stars Invitational at 18 years old. According to insider.com, in 2016, Osaka, for the first time, got into the top 50 in the WTA. Two years later, in 2018, her career was set, winning a match against Serena Williams. She also attracted more media attention while playing at the French Open and Wimbledon. However, she’s not just talented on the court, but off the court as well. Playing games such as Overwatch and Pokemon, which is how she entertained her fans while on her breaks.
She started to take breaks when she lost the U.S. Open to Leylah Fernandez from Canada, in which she told sportingnews.com that when she loses she feels very sad and also said she doesn’t “think that’s normal”. During the U.S. Open, she got a violation when she was returning a ball and it went into the stands. Additionally, she threw her racket down in frustration three times. She also told sportingnews.com, “Normally, I feel like I like challenges, but recently I feel very anxious when things don’t go my way (…).” When she was playing at the Tokyo Olympics, Naomi Osaka tapped out after another 3rd-round loss. She was sitting out at Wimbledon and pulled out of the French Open. However, at this year’s 2022 Australian Open, her opponent, Aliza Cornet told abc.go.com, “(…) but I think after a few matches, she will be again on top probably. She can do a lot of things with her tennis racket, so I’m not that worried for her.”
Additionally, since most of the tennis world has been focused on Novak Djokovic, Naomi has been able to work her way up. With her quick returns and famously fast serves, she’ll be back on top in no time.