Naomi Osaka admits she has not enjoyed playing tennis since winning the Australian Open and has described the last few months as the worst of her life.
The 21-year-old won her second consecutive grand slam title at Melbourne Park in January, making her the new world number one, but expectation has weighed heavily ever since.
A shock split from coach Sascha Bajin immediately after the Australian Open was another factor, and Osaka has not reached the final of any tournament since.
The Japanese player wrote on Twitter: “The last few months for me have been really rough tennis wise, but thankfully I’m surrounded by people I love and who love me back (hopefully hahaha). In that regard I’m very thankful for them because whenever things go wrong I blame myself 100%.
“I have a tendency to shut down because I don’t want to burden anyone with my thoughts or problems but they taught me to trust them and not take everything on by myself.
“Unexpectedly, though, the worst months of my life have also had some of the best moments cause I’ve met new people and been able to do things that I’ve never even considered doing before.
“That being said I can honestly reflect and say I probably haven’t had fun playing tennis since Australia and I’m finally coming to terms with that while relearning that fun feeling.”
I’ll leave this here just in case you feel like reading a book lol. pic.twitter.com/UD512lBRP1— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@Naomi_Osaka_) August 1, 2019
Osaka’s grand slam winning run ended with a third-round loss to Katerina Siniakova at the French Open, while the grass season saw her lose her number one ranking to Ashleigh Barty and crash out in the first round of Wimbledon to Yulia Putintseva.
Following that loss, Osaka answered a few questions in a monosyllabic press conference before cutting it short, telling the moderator she was about to cry.
She will return to action at the Rogers Cup in Toronto next week, and Osaka said: “I’ve put so much weight on the results of my matches instead of learning from them, which is what I “normally” do.
“Having this time to reflect and think (from losing in the first round lololol), I’ve learned a lot about myself and I feel like I grew so much as a person in the past year(s) so I’m really excited what the future looks like on and off the court.”
Andy Murray and brother Jamie battled past French pair Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin at the Citi Open in Washington.
The former world number one has so far been restricted to doubles action since returning to the game following his hip resurfacing operation in January, and played in the mixed event alongside Serena Williams at Wimbledon.
Murray, who has suggested his singles return may be closer than he originally thought, produced a composed display alongside his brother as they progressed to the quarter-finals with a gutsy 6-4 6-7 (7) 10-5 win in a tie-break decider.
A return to the hard courts in August appears in Murray’s sights, but that could yet be delayed until after the US Open.
The 32-year-old’s last grand slam appearance was at the Australian Open in Melbourne, where he lost to Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round.
Pairing with his brother was not a new partnership, the Murrays having played together at the Rio Olympics and also formed a prolific partnership during Great Britain’s 2015 Davis Cup victory.
Jamie Murray, meanwhile, was looking to defending his ATP Tour title won in Washington last year with Bruno Soares.
The opening set went with serve before the Murray’s pressure told in game 10 to gain a crucial break.
The match remained a tight affair as the French pair held to force a tie-break.
The Murrays saw two match point chances missed having been 6-4 up, the second with a wide return from the former world number one.
Some more fine returns from the British duo saw another opportunity to break for the match, but again the Frenchmen responded to level at 7-7 before closing out to force a 10-point tie-break decider.
Mahut and Roger-Vasselin then appeared to be in control after moving 5-3 ahead, only for the Murray brothers to respond magnificently and lead 8-5.
Jamie Murray then served for the match, with Andy’s crosscourt forehand setting up another opportunity to take a hard-earned victory, which was secured when the return went into the net.
Three-time grand slam winner Andy Murray said his singles return may be closer than he originally thought.
The 32-year-old has so far been restricted to doubles action since returning to the game following his hip resurfacing operation in January, winning his first tournament back at Queen’s in June before suffering early exits at Eastbourne and Wimbledon.
He will link up with brother Jamie at next week’s Citi Open in Washington.
Speaking ahead of the tournament of his return to singles action, he told reporters: “I’m closer than maybe what I thought I was.”
Murray added that a return to the hard courts in August was in his sights, and if not, then he would wait until after the US Open.
He said: “Best-case scenario probably would be Cincinnati. And then if I wasn’t able to play in Cincinnati, there’s a good chance I would probably wait until after New York, because I wouldn’t want my first tournament, either, to be playing best-of-five.”
Murray’s last grand slam appearance was on the hard courts of Melbourne, where he was dispatched in the first round by quarter-finalist Roberto Bautista Agut in four sets.
The Murray brothers last played together at the Rio Olympics, but were a prolific partnership during Great Britain’s 2015 Davis Cup victory, while they have won two ATP Tour titles together, in Tokyo in 2011 and Valencia the year before.
Jamie is the defending champion at Washington, having won the tournament last year with Bruno Soares.