Sports

Naomi Osaka displays new-found perspective following shock Australian Open exit


Naomi Osaka has clearly done some work on putting things in perspective after her break away from the game last year to focus on her mental health.

The two-time Australian Open champion was bundled out of Melbourne Park by unseeded American Amanda Anisimova last night, but you got the sense that her world wasn’t about to come crashing down.

It’s part of her new resolution for 2022. No dwelling on what’s already happened.

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Osaka had two match points against 60th-ranked Anisimova in the third, and she missed two backhands.

Anisimova held serve to force a tiebreaker, which she dominated, and finished with an ace for a huge comeback victory over the four-time major champion.

Unseeded American overwhelmed after upsetting Naomi Osaka

In doing so, the 20-year-old American ensured that the so-called final-before-the-final — a much-anticipated fourth-round showdown between Osaka and top-ranked Ash Barty — won’t happen.

“I’m not sure if I’m going to have regrets about those two match points,” Osaka said. “Like, I thought she played really well. But I can’t really look in the past anymore, you know?”

Following the 4-6 6-3 7-6 loss, Osaka continued to showcase her refreshing new outlook on her performances.

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“I fought for every point, I can’t be sad about that,” she told reporters.

“You know, like I’m not God. I can’t win every match. I just have to take that into account and know that it would be nice to win the tournament, but that’s really special.

“I can’t think of myself to try to win the Grand Slam at the start of the year every time.

“For me, I feel like I grew a lot in this match. The last match that I played in New York I had a completely different attitude. Of course I lost, but I’m happy with how it went.”

Osaka takes the first set

Osaka also revealed that she’s started to keep a journal.

“I just feel like I have to shift my mentality more and be more grateful for the things that I have accomplished and the things that I want to accomplish,” she said.

“I would definitely say I’m proud of myself for this. I think for me this is the biggest step, though I lost.

“I just want to go into this year knowing that I’ll play the whole year and I’ll have the greatest attitude ever. Even if I win or lose, I’ll just go off the court knowing I tried the hardest I could, and there is no way anyone can expect anything more from me because they saw how hard I fought.

“If I keep that mentality, I’ll be able to win more matches. There are going to be moments like this where I am disappointed, but the losses is what I learn the most from.

“I can’t really look in the past anymore, you know? I just have to focus on what I can do in the future to hopefully evade those situations.”

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