Naomi Osaka’s defense of her US Open championship is in tatters and her immediate future on the women’s professional tennis tour in doubt after a shocking third-round defeat to the unseeded Leylah Annie Fernandez, a Canadian teenager ranked 74th in the world.
The third-seeded Osaka, a four-time major champion and the best hard-court player in the world by some distance, lost her composure while serving for the match in a 5-7, 6-7 (2), 6-4 loss in 2hr 4min on Friday night.
Following the loss, Osaka, who has battled mental health issues this year, said she planned to take a break from tennis.
“This is very hard to articulate,” she said as she teared up. “Basically 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. Sorry.”U.S. Open
This was never the way it was supposed to go for Naomi Osaka, the biggest new star in tennis, whose fame, reach and success appeared to have no limits at the start of the year.
Since then, Osaka has experienced a series of setbacks and losses so overwhelming that she said after the latest one, on Friday night at the U.S. Open, that she did not know when she would play her next tennis match.