Tennis Championship: Naomi Osaka wins for the first time in four months ahead of the Australian Open

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Tennis Championship
Source: Skysports

Tennis Championship: After making a triumphant return ahead of the Australian Open, Naomi Osaka says her main goals are to ‘have fun’ and ‘never cry in the pressroom again.’

Osaka defeated Alize Cornet 6-4 3-6 6-3 in the opening round of the Australian Open warm-up tournament, her first match in four months.

After losing to Leylah Fernandez in the third round of the US Open in September, the four-time Grand Slam winner and reigning Australian Open champion took a vacation from tennis.

“I just really have one primary goal this year, and it has nothing to do with results or anything like that,” Osaka said after her triumph.

“For me, all I want is to feel like I’m having a good time every time I step onto the court. I can leave the court knowing that, even if I lost, I gave it my all.

“Also, I’ve set a goal for myself in the pressroom to never cry again, so perhaps that will work out in my favour.

“I’m the type of guy that obsesses over outcomes, rankings, and other such details, and I just need to find a method to enjoy the game once more. That is, after all, why I started playing in the first place.”

Following her victory at the Australian Open last year, Osaka withdrew from the French Open due to mental health concerns after being threatened with exclusion for refusing to perform media responsibilities, and she subsequently skipped Wimbledon. In August, during her first press conference since withdrawing from the French Open, the 24-year-old broke down in tears in Cincinnati.

In July, Osaka represented Japan at the Tokyo Olympics, losing in the third round to Marketa Vondrousova, before exiting the US Open at the same stage in September.

“I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to play for the majority of this year,” Osaka said. “I’m incredibly proud of myself for loving the sport so much because I literally said I wasn’t sure when I’d play after the US Open and now I’m here.”

“During the interval, I had the impression that I didn’t know what my future held. That’s something I’m sure a lot of folks can relate to. Of course, you never know what the future holds, but it was a tumultuous period. But right now, I’m ecstatic to be sitting here.”

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