Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Osaka withdraws from Indian Wells after U.S Open collapse

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

Osaka’s absence was confirmed by organisers on Wednesday, with the Indian Wells Masters scheduled to take place from Oct. 4 to Oct. 17 after the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Her 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.

The four-time major champion Osaka lost her cool and composure after throwing her racquet three times in an unsuccessful second-set tie-break.

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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.

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.

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She subsequently pulled out of Wimbledon before returning for the Olympic Games, though she suffered a surprise loss on home soil in Tokyo.

dpa/NAN

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