WTA

Osaka withdraws from Indian Wells after US Open collapse

By Sports Desk September 22, 2021

Former world number one Naomi Osaka unsurprisingly withdrew from next month's Indian Wells Masters, having flagged a break from tennis following her US Open meltdown.

The tournament confirmed 2018 champion Osaka's absence on Wednesday, with the Indian Wells Masters scheduled to take place from October 4-17 after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Osaka's US Open title defence came crashing down in a remarkable 5-7 7-6 (7-2) 6-4 third-round capitulation at the hands of eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez earlier this month.

Up a set and serving for the match at 6-5 on Arthur Ashe Stadium, four-time major champion Osaka lost her cool and composure after throwing her racquet three times in an unsuccessful second-set tie-break.

Amid boos in New York, Japanese star Osaka was also warned after hitting a ball into the crowd at Flushing Meadows.

After the surprise exit, Osaka told reporters she planned to "take a break from playing for a while."

She added: "I feel like for me recently, like, 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. I didn't really want to cry.

"I feel like… this is very hard to articulate. 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 [tearing up]. Sorry."

It comes following a difficult couple of months due to mental health concerns as a result of "long bouts of depression" since winning the 2018 US Open.

Osaka withdrew from May's French Open having won her first-round match, after she was fined and threatened with further punishment – and possible expulsion from the grand slam – for skipping obligatory media duties.

She subsequently pulled out of Wimbledon before returning for the Olympic Games, though she suffered a surprise loss on home soil in Tokyo and was reduced to tears during a news conference in Cincinnati.

 

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