Hot topics close

Naomi Osaka feeling 'more comfortable in my skin' after tennis hiatus

Naomi Osaka looks like she’s fulfilling her goal of enjoying tennis again.

Naomi Osaka looks like she’s fulfilling her goal of enjoying tennis again.

Osaka said Monday she feels “more comfortable in my skin” after her first-round 6-3, 6-3 victory over world No. 50, Colombia’s Camila Osorio, in the Australian Open.

The former top-ranked women’s player, who is the reigning Australian Open champion, has long been candid about her emotional struggles over the past year. During the French Open last spring, Osaka, 24, opened up about suffering from depression and took a mental health break from tennis, withdrawing from Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open.

Now the Japanese tennis sensation believes she is in a better place health-wise, and is looking to have a more positive outlook.

“I would say I feel more comfortable in my skin, if that makes sense. Like there’s always the human nature to feel uneasy, to want to please everyone and stuff like that,” Osaka said.

Naomi Osaka competes during the first round of the Australian Open on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022.
Naomi Osaka competes during the first round of the 2022 Australian Open on Monday, Jan. 17, 2022
Getty Images

“I feel like there was a time after the French Open where I felt like everyone was judging me … It feels a bit weird when you go into a stadium to play and you’re kind of concerned what everyone’s gaze means.

“Basically right now I’m trying to learn how to be more selfish, but in a positive way.”

Osaka added that she’s looking forward to getting back on the court and challenging herself this upcoming season. At Melbourne Park, she is seeded 13th as she missed the latter half of 2021.

“I just want to have fun, first of all. I can’t expect myself to win every match, but I do expect myself to have fun and challenge myself,” she said.

The four-time major champion will next face Madison Brengle of the US, who won her first-round match after her opponent, Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska, retired with an injury.

Similar shots