Osaka's blunt message for tennis critics

4 weeks ago 13
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Defending champion Naomi Osaka says she can no longer "burden" herself with the expectations of others, ahead of the opening day of the US Open.

The world No.2 will begin her quest for a fifth grand slam title in New York against Czech player Marie Bouzková at the venue where she won her first, a victory over Serena Williams that is better remembered for Williams' meltdown than Osaka's win.

The events of that fortnight thrust Osaka firmly into the global spotlight, a stage where she is clearly uncomfortable.

Earlier this year she announced she would not participate in mandatory media conferences in the interests of her mental health, before she withdrew from Roland Garros prior to her second round match. She's now admitted she did "a lot of things wrong" in Paris.

Naomi Osaka lights the cauldron at the Tokyo Olympics. (Getty)

She also skipped Wimbledon, before returning for the Tokyo Olympics.

Her first media conference in three months ended in tears in Cincinnati, and she was forced to take a brief break, after a reporter suggested she used the media to her advantage, despite shying away from media conferences.

Ahead of the US Open, Osaka said she's trying to take a more positive outlook into the tournament.

"Recently I've been asking myself why do I feel the way I do, and I realise one of the reasons is because internally I think I'm never good enough," she wrote on social media.

"I've never told myself that I've done a good job but I do know I constantly tell myself that I suck or I could do better."

Naomi Osaka during her loss to Marketa Vondrousova at the Tokyo Olympics. (Getty)

Osaka said for too long she's worried about how she's perceived by others.

"I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm gonna try to celebrate myself and my accomplishments more, I think we all should.

"Your life is your own and you shouldn't value yourself on other people's standards.

"I know I give my heart to everything I can and if that's not good enough for some then my apologies, but I can't burden myself with those expectations anymore."

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