Japan’s Naomi Osaka Olympic aspirations have come to a close in an unexpected ending for the tennis star.
It was in the 3rd round of the Olympic tennis tournament that Osaka was defeated by Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic. Vondrousova’s previous accolades include being a finalist in the French Open.
“I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,” said Osaka.
Osaka, who has been Japan’s obvious face of the Olympic Games this year, lit the Olympic cauldron at the opening ceremonies. She called it “undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life.”
Pairing this responsibility with a newfound profile as the high highest-paid female athlete in the world seemed to get the better of Osaka, who cited more pressure than usual with this tournament.
“I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this,” Osaka added. “I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in the Olympics before and for the first year [it] was a bit much.”
Her opponent graciously echoed the same.
“It’s tough for her also playing in Japan and in the Olympics,” Vondrousova said post-victory. “It’s so much pressure, I cannot imagine.”
Osaka has previously been public about her struggles with safeguarding her mental health as the 2nd-ranked player in the world. Notably, at the French Open, Osaka skipped the mandatory new conference after her first-round victory in Paris, revealing that speaking with reporters creates doubts for her. She was fined $15,000 for her absence.