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What next for Naomi Osaka after Australian Open loss?

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Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka. Photo/USA TODAY Sports

The future on the court seems bleak for Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka following her failed bid to defend her Australian Open title.

Osaka’s tennis career is in significant jeopardy, according to two former world No.1 players – Mats Wilander and John McEnroe.

The two tennis pundits argue that it will be impossible for Osaka to regain her prior level of performance.

She was eliminated in the third round of the Australian Open by hard-hitting American Amanda Anisimova. The four-time Grand Slam champion, who returned to competitive tennis for the Australian summer after an extended absence to work on her mental health in 2021, was philosophical when asked about her loss.

Osaka remarked that she fought for every point of the tournament. She maintained that the loss wouldn’t bring her down. She further said that she cannot be sad over every match she loses because ‘she is not God’.

While winning the Grand Slam would be a great accomplishment, she adds, she can’t help but think of herself as a person who strives to win on a daily basis.

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka played Madison Brengle to advance to 3rd round of Australian Open. Photo/Sportskeeda

What Mats Wilander Thinks of Naomi Osaka’s Future in Tennis

Wilander, a former world No.1believes that Osaka’s reign as a major champion may be coming to an end. When asked about Osaka’s chances of winning a Grand Slam, the Swede admitted to Eurosport Cube that he was “not sure” if the great player would ever win another.

He says that things are thick for Osaka, therefore, her return to winning Grand Slams should not be expected. The Swede who is a tennis analyst urged the 24-year-old to focus on her future outside tennis.

What John McEnroe Thinks of Naomi Osaka’s Future in Tennis

Also a former world No.1 John McEnroe is worried that Osaka’s decision to open up on her struggle with depression and anxiety would work against her.

McEnroe opines that this move by Osaka could potentially harm her career. While terming it unpleasant, McEnroe says that Osaka put herself in an awkward situation.

He notes that the idea of raising awareness of mental health, in general, drew too much attention on her. Nevertheless, the point of concern should be a proper assessment by Osaka on why she lost.

And one of the things McEnroe is focused on is seeing how Osaka will handle this loss. Secondly, he is concerned about whether or not Osaka will play in the French Open in May and the Wimbledon.

He notes that Osaka must be ready to handle every aspect of a loss.

Naomi Osaka Losing to Amanda Anisimova

On Friday morning at Melbourne Park, Osaka lost to Anisimova. The American beat Osaka 4-6, 6-3, 7-6.  At the start of the Australian Open, Anisimova was ranked 60 in the world.

Osaka had numerous opportunities to defeat Anisimova, but she couldn’t capitalise on any of them. In the third set, she had two chances to secure match points, but she missed both of them.

Naomi Osaka Deleting Twitter and Instagram

In the wake of her early withdrawal from the Australian Open the Japanese tennis sensation said that she will temporarily stop using some social media platforms.

“The first thing that I’ll probably do when I look at my phone is delete Instagram and Twitter, and then I probably won’t re-download it for a couple of weeks,” the four-time Grand-Slam champion said post-match.

Naomi Osaka Western & Southern Open

Naomi Osaka. Photo/TennisUpdate

Before she was elbowed out of the tournament, Osaka had an impressive start at the Australian Open.  She beat American Madison Brengle 6-0, 6-4, and advanced to the third round of the Australian Open Wednesday last week.

Osaka served beautifully and faced no breakpoints. She recovered strongly to win the first set in 20 minutes while Brengle had just nine points.

The crowd at Rod Laver Arena erupted in cheers as the 54th-ranked Brengle, 31, won her opening service game of the second set as Osaka’s game faltered.

When she broke serve again on her first match point in the set, the two-time U.S. Open champion regained control and sealed the victory after 65 minutes.

Despite her loss in the opening Grand Slam of the year, Forbes ranks her among the highest-paid athletes in 2021. The Japanese tennis star who has worked to raise awareness of mental health concerns in sports earned $57.3 million in prize money and endorsements in 2021.

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