Naomi Osaka says she is going to take a break from playing tennis "for a while"

Naomi Osaka, the defending women’s singles champion, lost 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4, in the third round of the U.S. Open on Friday night.

Naomi Osaka of Japan walks off the court after losing to Leylah Fernandez of Canada during her Women's Singles third round match on Day Five at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center.   -  AFP

Naomi Osaka said she is thinking of taking another break from tennis “for a while” after losing in the third round at the U.S. Open on Friday night.

“When I win, I don’t feel happy, I feel more like a relief. When I lose, I feel very sad," Osaka said at her news conference following a 5-7, 6-7 (2), 6-4 loss to Leylah Fernandez, an 18-year-old from Canada who is ranked 73rd. “I don’t feel like it’s normal.”

Attempting to hold back tears, Osaka added: “I’m basically at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do. I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”

Naomi Osaka ousted from US Open by Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez  

Earlier Friday, she smacked her racket at the Arthur Ashe Stadium’s court. Moments later, she chucked her equipment, sending it bouncing and skidding halfway to the net. Then came a full-on spike near the baseline.

 

Osaka’s game was off. Her composure was gone. By the end, the crowd was booing her for turning her back to the court and taking too much time between points.

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Soon enough, the No. 3-seeded Osaka’s title defence was over.

This was Osaka’s first Slam tournament since she pulled out of the French Open before the second round to take a mental health break. She also sat out Wimbledon before participating in the Tokyo Olympics, where she lit the cauldron.

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