‘I know I am going to play soon’ – Naomi Osaka ‘itching’ to make her return
Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka hints at an imminent return to the sport after admitting she is ‘feeling the itch’ to play again soon.
After losing to Leylah Fernandez in the third-round at the US Open earlier this month, Osaka revealed she would take an indefinite break from the game to concentrate on her mental well-being.
The former world number one, who has withdrawn from next month’s WTA event at Indian Wells, has played just a handful of matches since she pulled out of the French Open following a dispute over compulsory press appearances.
“You know, I’ve been playing tennis since I was three years old,” the 23-year-old said on HBO’s ‘The Shop’.
“For sure I love the sport. I know I’m gonna play again, probably soon because I kind of have that itch again.
“But it wouldn’t really matter to me if I won or lost. I’d just have the joy of being back on the court. Just to, like, you know, that I’m doing it for myself.”
The Japanese star, who has fallen to seventh in the rankings due to her inactivity, said she needed to take a break to reset and reflect.
“I started to feel like that power was being taken away from me,” said the 23-year-old. “I wasn’t playing to make myself happy and I was more concerned about what would people say about me.”
“I used to love the competition and just being competitive. Like if I were to play a long match, the longer it was the more fun it was for me.
“And then I just started to feel – recently – the longer it was the more stressed out I became. But I just needed a break to go within myself.”