Moments after she was defeated at Wimbledon during the first round, Naomi Osaka found herself in front of a jam-packed room filled with reporters from across the globe, answering as many questions as possible. During her Q&A, she spoke very softly and tried her best to hold back the tears that surfaced from the moment she sat down.
After a couple of minutes that looked like sheer agony, Naomi Osaka decided to interrupt a question regarding the pressures of her brand-new fame and asked her moderator if she could leave as she was about to burst out in tears. After that, she stood up and walked out of the room while an uncomfortable silence spread across the floor that created even more questions among reporters.
The Life of a Tennis Athlete
The career and life of a professional athlete in tennis is filled with lows and highs. However, perhaps no one has managed to exemplify it more extremely than Naomi Osaka in the last 12 months. She managed to defeat Serena Williams in a truly controversial game to claim her very first Grand Slam title during the U.S Open early in September and dominated the Australian Open to reach the world’s number 1 ranking in January. To many, it looked like the future of tennis finally arrived, complete with a quirky sense of humour and a bouncy ponytail, and she was instantly seen everywhere you look. The magazine covers kept pouring in, as did endorsements and television appearances.
However, it soon became apparent that not everything was perfect in the world of Naomi Osaka. She decided to fire Sascha Bajin, her incredible tennis coach, only weeks following her victory in Melbourne, and only provided reporters with vague comments regarding her decision to fire the coach in search of happiness. Since this occurred, the tennis star has struggled on the court where she only managed to advance once in April to a semi-final, while falling short during the French Open in the third round. This marked the earliest exit by a female in her first major as a top-ranked tennis player since 2008 with Ana Ivanovic.
Defeat at Wimbledon
When you consider the discussions of a Naomi Slam after her second consecutive victory in Australia, her unexpected loss on the very first day feels quite tricky. Osaka managed to before only the 4th female in the history of the Open Era to lose in an opening match during Wimbledon while she was ranked as the top seed.
Naomi Osaka played against Yulia Putintseva, regarded as a two-time quarterfinalist in the French Open who is ranked number 39 in the world, on centre court and started strong as the managed to take a 3-1 lead. However, she went on to lose a set after a difficult tie-break. Putintseva managed to win both their previous meetings and at Wimbledon, Osaka looked clueless on several occasions, accumulating over 30 unforced errors during the match.