Naomi Osaka has apologized after losing her cool in her shock US Open defeat to
teenager Leylah Fernandez and has confirmed that she will take another extended
break from tennis.
Teenager Leylah Fernandez pulled off arguably the biggest stunner of
the tournament, rattling Osaka and storming back for a 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4 come-from-
behind victory Friday night before an Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd, which she won
“From the very beginning right before the match, I knew I was able to win,”
Fernandez said in an on-court TV interview, adding she was more intent on her own
game than Osaka’s meltdown. “Honestly, I wasn’t focusing on Naomi. I was only
focusing on myself and what I needed to do.”Oh, Fernandez got the job done all right.
It’s the 73rd-ranked Canadian’s first victory over a top 3-ranked foe and marks her
first Round of 16 appearances at a major. And it came after either she or the moment
got to Osaka: The defending champ slammed her racquet and threw it twice, all in
the second-set tiebreaker.
By the time Osaka took too long between points, while down 30-0 in the final game,
the crowd was cheering for the underdog and jeering the champ.
“It made a huge difference. Thanks to New York. New York fans over here.
They helped me get the win,” Fernandez said.
Asked why she threw her racket at her post-match press conference, Osaka replied:
‘Yeah, I’m really sorry about that.
‘I’m not really sure why [I did it]. I felt like I was pretty [calm], I was telling myself to
be calm, but I feel like maybe there was a boiling point.
‘Normally I feel like I like challenges, but recently I feel very anxious when things
don’t go my way and I feel like you can feel that.
‘I’m not really sure why it happens the way it happens now. But yeah, that’s basically
why. You could kind of see that, I was kind of like a little kid.’
Osaka withdrew from the French Open earlier this year and also missed Wimbledon,
only returning for the Tokyo Olympics and then the US Open, but now says she will
take another break.
I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do,’
‘I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. I think I’m
going to take a break from playing for a while.
‘I feel like for me recently, when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And
then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal.’