Although Naomi has become a worldwide advocate for the mental health of Osaka athletes, she is essentially known for her peace of mind on the court. This wasn’t the case on Friday evening, when she lost to 18-year-old Leila Fernandez 5-7, 7-6, 6-4.
In the first set, Osaka looked balanced, confident, and aggressive. But things began to disintegrate for him towards the top of the second set, when No. 73 Fernandez bounced back from 0-40 to 40-40, hitting the backhand winner to send the tiebreak. Osaka made impractical mistakes within the tiebreak and quickly dug himself into a keyhole.
He overheated a forehand to travel down 0-3, and bowed and let loose a painful scream. After taking place 0-4, he threw his racket down in frustration but found no warning or code violation. Below 0-5, after another innocent mistake, he threw his racket down again, and again, found no warning or code violation.
She lost the tiebreak, 2-7, after making five unforced errors, and made one last scream before leaving the court, covering her head with a towel. She stayed in a small courtroom bathroom for a couple of minutes before returning.
Osaka walked off the court shortly after the match.
She went through the national tennis scene at Flushing Meadows when she defeated Serena Williams for the title in 2018. It added another open crown in 2020 and also won the 2020 and 2021 Australian Open.
She was knocked out of the French Open this summer after just one match and received a backlash for not attending post-match news conferences, a choice she announced before the beginning of the slam.
Later, Osaka revealed that she has been battling depression since the 2018 US Open.