Over the weekend, the organizers of the Australian Open, the first Grand Slam tournament of the tennis season, announced that Naomi Osaka, winner in 2019 and 2021, will not take part in the next edition of the tournament scheduled for January 16.
The news didn’t surprise much, given that until a few days ago Osaka was on vacation in Europe and hasn’t played for a long time, but it has fueled speculation about her possible retirement from professional tennis at just 25 years of age.
Osaka hasn’t communicated anything personally yet. However, her last official match dates back to September 19, and it lasted just 10 minutes for the opponent to retire. The last game really took place on August 29: a defeat in the first round of the US Open.
Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from the Australian Open. We will miss her at #AO2023 💙
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 8, 2023
In this period of inactivity it has dropped to 47th place in the world rankings, yet only three years ago it was number one. She had gotten there after winning the US Open in 2018 and the Australian Open in 2019. To those victories she had then added two more, in the same Grand Slam tournaments (the four most important of the season), for a total of 7 titles won on the WTA Women’s Tour and over $21 million in prize money earned.
In a context such as that of women’s tennis, open to any result and without major dominations as has been seen for years in the men’s field, Osaka was considered the most promising talent, at least until 2021. Precisely during that year she became to all intents and purposes the highest-paid sportswoman in the world and was chosen to light the Olympic brazier in the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Summer Olympics. But around that time she too began to show the first signs of breaking down.
Since then, Osaka has revealed that he had to face long crises of depression since the first US Open won in 2018. He then explained several times that he was unable to handle the pressures of the professional circuit, which is why in the last few months of activity he had often avoided speaking to the press. It had happened for the first time in 2021 following a defeat at the Internazionali d’Italia. In the summer, after retiring at Roland Garros, she also skipped Wimbledon, but then she decided to participate in the Tokyo Olympics, where she was eliminated in the third round, without giving any interviews.
On this day last year, Naomi Osaka does the honors of lighting the Olympic cauldron to open the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games. 🔥
Click the link in the video to watch this year’s celebrations.#Tokyo2020 | @naomiosaka pic.twitter.com/Np4QahYwyp
— The Olympic Games (@Olympics) July 23, 2022
During the Roland Garros of the same year, she explained that she had been surrounded by great media interest since she was a child, both for her talent and for her particular story, and that she had suffered a lot from it, accumulating ever greater stress and pressure, enormously increased after the his first successes among professionals. In fact, Osaka is the daughter of a Japanese mother and a Haitian father, she grew up first in Japan and then in the United States, and was directed to tennis together with her younger sister by her father, convinced that she could make two professional athletes through constant training since they were children. inspired by the story of the Williams sisters.
She told all of this herself in a Netflix series produced among others by LeBron James, in which Osaka participated to be able to explain herself firsthand, like many other athletes they are doing in this period, also to overcome moments of difficulty caused by the great media exposure to which they are subject.
Since then Osaka – who remains the most followed tennis player of the new generation in the world on social media – has started several projects, which however do not really concern the tennis played. You have published a children’s book, started your own line of skin care products and recently founded a representation agency for professional athletes which has been looking after the interests of Ons JabeurTunisian tennis player number two in the world and Wimbledon finalist.
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Another retreat for Naomi Osaka – Il Post
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