Naomi Osaka launches her bid for a third US Open title in four years today, aiming to put turmoil behind her as she chases her second Grand Slam title of 2021.
Osaka, who rocketed to fame when she beat superstar Serena Williams in the 2018 US Open final, appeared set for a sparkling 2021 campaign after she beat American Jen Brady in the Australian Open final in February to capture her fourth major crown.
But she has played sparingly since, pulling out of the French Open after she was fined for failing to meet mandatory media requirements.
Osaka, who said she believed post-match news conferences were detrimental to her mental health, opted out of Wimbledon as well, and after the magical moment of lighting the cauldron at the Tokyo Olympics bowed out in the third round.
As she looked ahead to today’s opener against Czech Marie Bouzkova Osaka said in a social media post that she wants to start to savor her accomplishments and let go of negative thoughts.