Naomi Osaka ‘thankful’ for US Open opportunity others ‘would die for’
Naomi Osaka feels grateful to have played on the biggest stage in the sport again despite her ranking after losing in the opening round of the US Open.
The two-time champion in New York faced home talent Danielle Collins, losing to the Australian Open finalist 7-6 (7-5), 6-3 on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Currently ranked 44th in the world, Naomi Osaka has seen great success in the world’s largest tennis arena, claiming titles in 2018 and 2020, the former being her maiden Slam crown.
When reflecting on her form compared to the highs of her four Major trophies, the Japanese star admitted she has not had the best of it this year.
“I’m not really sure. I lost in the first round of France, too. So, this year hasn’t really been a great year,” she said in her post-match press conference. “But, I think it was just special to play on Ashe,” she added.
“I think a lot of players would die for that opportunity. For the tournament to let me still play on that even though I’m unseeded, I’m very thankful.”
Osaka has now played in Arthur Ashe Stadium 17 times in her career, including in her last 11 US Open matches across the 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 events.
There is the possibility that the 24-year-old will drop out of the top 50 again after New York, though that will depend on results from other players around her ranking.
For 19th seed Collins, she will be happy to claim her first singles victory since the French Open in May, and will take on Spain’s Cristina Bucsa in the second round.
🎾 Free >> Join our legendary newsletter
🎾 Read >> World’s best tennis magazine
🎾 Watch >> How to enjoy ATP/WTA/Slam tennis on TV