Japan’s Naomi Osaka says she has not enjoyed playing tennis since the Australian Open but is hopeful of finding her rhythm before the US Open. The 21-year-old won the title at Flushing Meadows in 2018 before winning her second Grand Slam in Melbourne in January.
She looked ready to dominate the women’s game but has struggled for consistency since her win Down Under. Osaka split with coach Sascha Bajin after the Australian Open and has not won a tournament since.
Early exits at the French Open and at Wimbledon have added to her misery but Osaka is refusing to give up as she tries to defend her crown in the USA.
She wrote on Twitter: “The last few months for me have been really rough tennis-wise but thankfully I’m surrounded by people I love and who love me back (hopefully hahaha).
In that regard I’m very thankful for them because whenever things go wrong I blame myself 100%. “I have a tendency to shut down because I don’t want to burden anyone with my thoughts or problems but they taught me to trust them and not take everything on by myself.
“Unexpectedly, though, the worst months of my life have also had some of the best moments cause I’ve met new people and been able to do things that I’ve never even considered doing before.
“That being said I can honestly reflect and say I probably haven’t had fun playing tennis since Australia and I’m finally coming to terms with that while relearning that fun feeling.
“Having this time to reflect and think (from losing in the first round lololol), I’ve learned a lot about myself and I feel like I grew so much as a person in the past year(s) so I’m really excited what the future looks like on and off the court.”
Serena Williams is the 6.00 favourite to win the US Open, while Osaka is priced at 8.00 to claim a third Grand Slam.