Osaka says she has ‘itch’ to play tennis again


Osaka says she has 'itch' to play tennis again
Sep 3, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan serves to Leylah Fernandez of Canada on day five of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

In Summary

  • Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka says she will return to tennis soon after getting the "itch" to play again.
  • Osaka took a break from tennis earlier this month after her US Open title defence was ended by eventual runner-up Leylah Fernandez in round three.
  • The 23-year-old Japanese player previously missed this year's French Open and Wimbledon to focus on her mental health.

Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka says she will return to tennis soon after getting the “itch” to play again.

Osaka took a break from tennis earlier this month after her US Open title defence was ended by eventual runner-up Leylah Fernandez in round three.

The 23-year-old Japanese player previously missed this year’s French Open and Wimbledon to focus on her mental health.

“I know I’m going to play again,” Osaka told HBO show The Shop.

Adding that her return would be “probably soon”, Osaka said: “I kind of have that itch again.

“It wouldn’t really matter to me if I won or lost, I’d just have the joy of being back on the court.”

In withdrawing from the French Open, Osaka revealed she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since winning her first Grand Slam title at the US Open in 2018.

She returned for the Tokyo Olympics, where she lit the flame at the opening ceremony, but was beaten in the third round.

World number seven Osaka said a series of tough matches had taken their toll on her, culminating in her US Open exit.

“I used to love the competition and just being competitive,” she added.

“If I were to play a long match, the longer it was the more fun it was for me.

“I just started to feel recently the longer it was the more stressed out I became, but I just needed a break to go within myself.”

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