What Now For Naomi Osaka After US Open Shock?
- Former world No. 1 Naomi Osaka was eliminated in the first round of the U.S. Open 2022 last Tuesday evening, as Sports Illustrated explains.
Osaka met another power hitter, 19th seed Danielle Collins, in a shot-making showdown at Flushing Meadows. The fans were completely absorbed as they watched the two women engage in a hard-court power battle in Arthur Ashe Stadium. Ultimately, Collins defeated Osaka 7-6, 6-3, making it another disappointing loss for the former two-time U.S. Open Champion.
After the match, Naomi Osaka walked into the locker room, lay down, and draped a towel over her face. It looks as if the future feels unclear for the champion. During an interview, she told a source: “I'm the type of person that thinks a lot, to the point where I overthink. Sometimes when I play matches, I have to tell myself to stop thinking, just go more on instinct. I feel like I just have to chill a little bit, because there's a lot of like random chaos in my head right now.”
This could mean a break before competing in the next Grand Slam event, which is the Australian Open. Osaka is still second-favorite in the Coral tennis odds for the Australian Open, which takes place in Melbourne in January 2023. It is the first of the four Grand Slam events, preceding the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open. If Osaka takes a short break and 'chills a little bit,' it could be exactly what she needs to get herself back on track for next season.
- Looking back at Osaka's career record, from 2018 to 2021, she won one Grand Slam singles title in four consecutive years, and all four wins were on hard courts: the U.S. Open in 2018 and 2020, and the Australian Open in 2019 and 2021. This will make 2022 the first year that Osaka didn't win a grand slam title since 2017.
Prior to Tuesday's tennis match, Osaka had an extra edge going up against Collins, as Osaka led with a 3-0 career record, beating Collins every time they previously met. Osaka is now ranked 44th in the world according to the WTA rankings, which means she could have been drawn to face anyone in the first round, and it just happened to be the 19th seed.
But Osaka was not the only prestigious player to be eliminated in the first round during this year's U.S. Open. Shockingly, the defending U.S. Open champion Emma Raducanu lost to Alizé Cornet 6-3, 6-3 in the opening round. The major upset makes Raducanu the third defending U.S. Open champion to ever lose in the first round the following year. In addition, two-time U.S. Open champion Venus Williams also lost in the first round on Tuesday to Alison Van Uytvanck 6-1, 7-6 (7-5).
- Just like in any sport, injuries come and go, and the world of professional tennis is not any different. The 2022 season has plagued Naomi Osaka with numerous injuries, such as back pains, abdominal aches, and an Achilles injury. These setbacks forced the former World No 1. to withdraw from the semifinals of the Melbourne Summer Set 1 tournament in January 2023, as well as not competing in the Italian Open and Wimbledon.
Hopefully, with a little bit of rest and relaxation, Naomi Osaka will be able to recover to her full strength. The 2022 season for her is over, and now she has time to gather herself and make a comeback in the 2023 Australian Open in Melbourne.
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Photo by Peter Menzel - Naomi Osaka, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=74054197
Background photo via Naomi Osaka Instagram
- source : Sports Illustrated