Naomi Osaka pledges not to ‘cry in the pressroom’ after winning return to court

Naomi Osaka in action

Naomi Osaka claimed her first victory since returning to the court yesterday after she beat Alize Cornet in the Melbourne Summer Set.

The Japanese star won the match 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in what was her first competitive match since the US Open in September, after which she took a break from tennis for a short while.

Back in August the world No 13 broke down in tears in her first press conference since withdrawing from the French Open for mental health reasons, after a reporter took an aggressive tone when questioning her about using the media to her advantage, which fuelled her desire to step away from the game temporarily.

However, the reigning Australian Open champion is back and has set herself a goal to never cry in the pressroom again and wants to take a more relaxed approach to her game.

“For me, I just want to feel like every time I step on the court I’m having fun, I can walk off the court knowing that even if I lost, I tried as hard as I could,” the four time Grand Slam winner explained.

“Also, I have a goal in the pressroom, that I’m never going to cry again, so hopefully that works out in my favour.

“I’m the type of person that cared a little bit too much about the results and the ranking and stuff like that and I just need to find a way to enjoy the game again – because that’s the reason why I was playing in the first place.”

Despite winning the opening Grand Slam of the season in 2021, Osaka denied herself the chance to win the next two major competitions as she pulled out of Wimbledon, and most notably, the French Open, following a threat to remove her from Roland Garros after she refused to take part in her media commitments for the tournament.

The former world No 1 then bowed out of both the Olympics and the US Open at the third round stage which is when she admitted that losing made her feel “very sad” and winning didn’t make her happy anymore which prompted her to start her hiatus from the sport.

Osaka has now made her return to the court, but earlier than she thought.

“I actually really thought I wasn’t going to play for most of this year,” the 24-year-old told reporters at the Melbourne Summer Set.

“I’m really happy with myself that I love the sport that much because I literally said that I was unsure when I was going to play after the US Open and I’m here right now.

“In the break I was feeling like I didn’t know what my future was going to be, I’m pretty sure a lot of people can relate to that, of course you never know what the future holds, but it was definitely an indecisive time – but I’m happy to be sitting here right now.”

Osaka will be aiming to defend her title at the Australian Open later this month but first she faces Maryna Zanevska at the Melbourne Summer Set tomorrow.