Naomi Osaka enters and early exits French Open
Naomi Osaka of Japan plays a forehand during their singles match against Andrea Petkovic of Germany at the Summer Set tennis tournament ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam champion who helped spark a conversation about athletes’ mental health when she pulled out of last year’s French Open before her second-round match and revealed that she has dealt with anxiety and depression. (AP Photo/Hamish Blair, File)

As Naomi Osaka approached this year’s French Open, the prestigious tennis tournament, she seemed to be in higher spirits to take on her competition in Paris. 

After all, in 2021, Osaka refused to speak to the press citing personal concerns over her mental well being before withdrawing from the second round.

Naomi Osaka was defeated in first round earlier today.

Naomi Osaka’s return to the French Open was short-lived, with the former world No. 1 ousted by American Amanda Anisimova 7-5, 6-4 in the first round on Monday.  

Her defeat marked the second time in as many Grand Slams that Anisimova has beaten Naomi Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion. Anisimova’s three-set victory at the Australian Open in January, which was settled by a tiebreaker, was technically an upset.

Before the match, Osaka was seen smiling, and laughing with reporters during a pre-tournament French Open news conference — even as she addressed her last visit.

I’m not going to lie. When I first came here, I was very worried,” Osaka said at the conference. I was just kind of worried if there would be people that — of course, I also didn’t like how I handled the situation — but I was worried that there were people that I offended in some way, and I would just kind of bump into them. But I think everyone has been really positive, for the most part. I’m not really so sure. I was also very worried about this press conference, because I knew I’d get a lot of questions about this.”

Due to her anxiety, she later revealed that she suffered from long bouts of depression. Osaka spoke candidly about how being forced to do interviews after a loss has created self doubt.

Osaka addresses own mental health as WTA rankings slip.

Anisimova was the favored player, as the tournament’s 27th seed, while Osaka, a former No. 1 whose ranking has slipped all the way to 38th.

Naomi Osaka committed 29 unforced errors to 13 winners and landed only 45 percent of her first serves. She overcame an early deficit in the opening set, only to get broken again, serving at 5-5, on a double-fault.

Hailing from Charlotte North Carolina, born litterateur Ezekiel J. Walker earned a B.A. in Psychology at Winston Salem State University. Walker later published his first creative nonfiction book and has...

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