Naomi Osaka revealed that she was happy to be out of 2021, and said that the new year couldn’t have come sooner for her.
The Japanese tennis player battled anxiety and mental health issues in 2021. She also ended up taking a two-month break from the sport altogether after her abrupt exit from the French Open.
It was a year of some bad lows for the four-time Grand Slam champion. Nevertheless, 2022 brings with it new promises and hopes, and the player is in agreement.
Osaka revealed that she was happy to be out of 2021, and recapped the year in brief.
“I’ve never been more excited for a year to be over,” she said, as quoted by Tennis World USA.
“How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently, like, when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. Basically, I feel like – OK.
“Hmm, this is very hard to articulate. Basically, I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match.”
Former World No. 1 Maria Sharapova praised Osaka for publicly speaking about her mental health.
“We all need to be incredibly supportive of athletes who are going through tough times in their careers,” she said.
“Naomi is an incredible athlete and a beautiful human being, who has a very long career ahead of her. We all need to respect the decisions that players make at times of vulnerability, when they’re feeling down or not playing their best tennis.
“To be honest, not many people know what’s going on behind-the-scenes and how players feel. You only see the tennis game and what happens on the court. The more support that we can provide, the better they will be and the better that they will play.”