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 Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka says she has felt ‘ungrateful’ towards tennis following her first-round win over Coco Gauff at the Cincinnati Open.
Osaka was playing in her first tour event since withdrawing from Roland Garros in May after her mental health suffered due to the pressures of the media.
Osaka beat rising star Coco Gauff 3-6 6-4 6-3 in the first round of the Cincinnati Open on Wednesday in what was her first event out of the Olympics since May following her withdrawal from Roland Garros due to the adverse negative effects the media was having on her mental health.
And ahead of the Cincinnati Open, Osaka shed tears at a press conference on Monday following questions over her relationship with the media.
Returning to that question on Wednesday, Osaka opened up about her feelings towards the sport in the past year and explained how recent events had lent a fresh perspective.
“I was wondering why was I so affected, I guess, like what made me not want to do media,” the 23-year-old said.
“So then I was thinking me waking up every day, for me, I should feel like I’m winning. Like, the choice to go out there and play, to go see fans that people come out and watch me play, that itself is an accomplishment.
“I’m not sure when along the way I started desensitizing that. Like it started not being like an accomplishment for me. So I felt like I was very ungrateful on that fact.”
The four-time slam winner also acknowledged the stresses of the pandemic but was keen to lend perspective given other events happening in the world right now, referencing the turmoil in Afghanistan and the recent earthquake in Haiti, the country where her father was born.
“Seeing the state of the world, like how everything is in Haiti, Afghanistan right now is definitely really crazy,” she said.
“And for me to just be hitting a tennis ball in the United States right now and have people come and watch me play … I would want to be myself in this situation rather than anyone else in the world.”

 


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