Former Russian tenns star Dmitry Tursunov thought Naomi Osaka wasn’t ready for all the responsibility that fell on her once she became a major star.
Osaka, 24, burst onto the scene at a young age as she won her maiden Grand Slam title in 2019 and also became a world No. 1 for the first time in her career the same year.
This year, Osaka opened up several times about her mental health as she admitted battling depression and anxiety.
“It seems to me that she was not ready for the responsibility that fell on her. After all, many perceived Osaka as a billboard – and in addition, she actively supported various social movements. At the same time, in addition to performing in public, she also needed to train and rest. It’s hard when you have a photo session or a mandatory meeting with a sponsor instead of recovery. You feel that you are choking, you are being pulled into a funnel, from which you simply cannot get out. By the way, she tried to break the chain – she refused to be interviewed at Roland Garros. But the interview is the responsibility of the players,” Tursunov told Vedomosti Sport.
Osaka broke down in tears at the US Open
After suffering a surprise third round loss at the US Open, Osaka broke down in tears during her press conference.
Recently, when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief,” Osaka said after her US Open exit.
“When I lose, I feel very sad and I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry but basically I feel…”
Osaka didn’t play any tournaments in the rest of 2021.
“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,” she said.
“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”