Naomi Osaka Admits Desensitization And Fear Affected Her - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka Admits Desensitization And Fear Affected Her

The tennis star has shed some more light on her difficult relationship with the media and what have caused it.

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Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka says she felt ‘ungrateful’ for not being able to appreciate life as a player on Tour in recent months.

 

The former world No.1 has spoken openly about her mental health issues since announcing she would not be conducting press conferences at the French Open. It was at the Grand Slam where she revealed she has been coping with depression and social anxiety since 2018. Shortly after she took a break from the sport before returning to competition at the Tokyo Olympics.

Osaka returned to press conferences earlier this week at the Western and Southern Open but it didn’t go as smoothly as she would have wanted. She started to cry halfway through after being questioned about how she balances her relationship with the media and trying to promote her various interests. The question was later blasted by Osaka’s agent who accused the journalist of being a ‘bully.’

Speaking further about her relationship with the media on Wednesday, the 23-year-old said in recent months she had stopped appreciating her own achievements as an athlete.

I have been thinking about this since the last time I sat here (in press). I was wondering why was I so affected, what made me not want to do media in the first place,” Osaka said following her win over Coco Gauff in Cincinnati.
“Then I was thinking, I’m wondering if I was scared because sometimes I would see headlines of players losing and then the headline the next day would be like a collapse or they’re not that great anymore.’
“I was thinking me waking up every day, for me, I should feel like I’m winning. Like the choice to go out there and play, to go see fans that people come out and watch me play, that itself is an accomplishment. And I’m not sure when along the way I started desensitizing that. It started not being like an accomplishment for me. So I felt like I was very ungrateful on that fact.”

Osaka admits the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic might have also taken its toll on her with numerous rules being implemented on the Tour. Such as the use of tournament bubbles where players are restricted as to where they can go.

Now the Japanese tennis player says events happening around the world in places such as Haiti and Afghanistan have helped shape her perspective on things. This week Osaka has pledged to donate all of the prize money she earns to the victims of the devastating Haiti earthquake.

“But seeing the state of the world, how everything is in Haiti and Afghanistan right now is definitely really crazy, and for me to just be hitting a tennis ball in the United States right now and have people come and watch me play is… I would want to be myself in this situation rather than anyone else in the world.” She said.

Osaka will play Jill Teichmann in the third round on Thursday.

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Thanasi Kokkinakis wins his first career title in Adelaide

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Australian star Thanasi Kokkinakis came back from one set down to edge Arthur Rinderknech 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 in his home city after 2 hours and 38 minutes in the final of the Adelaide International 2. 

 

The match was dominated by serve. Kokkinakis hit 18 aces and won 90% of his first serve points. Neither player was able to earn a single break point or a mini-break until the final point of the first set tie-break, when Rinderknech sealed it as Kokkinakis hit a crosscourt forehand into the net. 

The second set went on serve en route to the tie-break. Rinderknech earned an early mini-break at the start of the second tie-break. Kokkinakis rallied from 0-2 down to take a 5-2 lead with three mini-breaks. Rinderknech pulled one mini-break for 3-5,  but Kokkinakis closed out the tie-break 7-5 on his third set point. 

Kokkinakis earned two breaks in the first and ninth games to seal the third set 6-3.  

Kokkinakis reached a career-high of number 69 at the age of 19-year-old player in 2015. This week he came through a three tie-break match against John Isner in the first round and beat Alexander Vukic in a three-set match in the quarter final and a 2-point tie-break against Marin Clic in the semifinal en route to the final. 

“I would not want to win my first title anywhere else. To my family, friends and coaches, what a ride it’s been. You have seen me at my lowest lows and now the highest high. It’s been a serious journey. For now I am so happy. I have been playing on this court since I was eight or nine years,  old, coming here before school every day. I love this court so much”, said Kokkinakis. 

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Aslan Karatsev claims his third career title after a straight-set win over Andy Murray in Sydney

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Aslan Karatsev beat Andy Murray 6-3 6-2 to seal the third ATP Tour title in his career at the Sydney Tennis Classic. 

 

Karatsev has won three of his four career ATP Tour finals in Dubai, Moscow and Sydney and finished runner-up to Matteo Berrettini in Belgrade in 2021. Last year the Russian player came through the qualifying round to reach the semifinals at the Australian Open on his debut. He reached a career-high World number 15 after winning his second career title in Moscow last October. He beat Lorenzo Sonego and Daniel Evans in three sets to reach the Sydney final this week. 

“First of all, congratulations to Andy. It’s a big effort to come back, to play unbelievable this week. I want to congratulate your team. Thank you very much to my team. We are doing an amazing job. Thank you very much to everybody here for coming to support. It was an unbelievable atmosphere in a difficult situation. It’s a difficult time to make this tournment happen, so thank you to everyone”, said Karatsev. 

Karatsev earned his first break in Murray’s first service game and consolidated it with a hold at love. The world number 20 hit 14 winners to 4 unforced errors in the opening set. 

Karatsev sealed the first set 6-3 with a double break, as Murray made two double faults. 

Karatsev broke Murray for the third time at the start of the second set to take a 2-0 lead. Murray hit an ace in the fourth game to claw his way back to 1-3 and earned his first break points of the match in the fifth game. Karatsev saved five break points in a 13-minute fifth game to hold serve for 4-1. Karatsev made a double fault on his first match point, but he closed out the win on his second opportunity after 91 minutes. Murray reached his first final since October 2019. 

“I would like to congratulate Aslan on a fantastic week. I know he also arrived here late in Australia. He was recovering from Covid, so it’s even more impressive to come back straight away and play at that level. Good job and all the best for the Aussie Open”, said Murray.  

John Peers and and Filip Polasek beat 2015 Australian Open doubles champions Fabio Fognini and Simone Bolelli 7-5 7-5 in the doubles final. Peers won the 24th doubles final of his career. Polasek claimed 17 titles, including last year’s Australian Open trophy with Ivan Dodig. 

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Madison Keys beats Alison Riske to win the sixth title of her career in Adelaide

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Former top 10 player Madison Keys cruised past her compatriot Alison Riske 6-1 6-2 in 66 minutes in the final of the Adelaide international 2 to claim the sixth WTA Tour title in her career. 

 

Keys never faced a break point in the final and dropped just 14 points in eight service games. She earned two breaks in the fourth and sixth games of the first set and in the first and seventh games of the second set. 

Keys has improved her record in WTA singles titles to 6-5. The US player, who entered the Adelaide tournament at World number 87, will return to the top 60 by winning this title. The 2015 Australian Open semifinalist beat three seeds Elina Svitolina, Liudmila Samsonova and Coco Gauff earlier this week. She needed three sets to beat Samsonova in the quarter final and Gauff in the semifinal. 

Keys has extended her lead to 6-1 in her seven head-to-head matches against Riske. Keys won four of their previous head-to-head matches in three sets and one in straight sets with the scoreline of 6-2 6-2 in Rome in 2014. 

“I am really happy with how today went. I think I started really well and just had the momentum. There were a couple of opportunities where the momentum could have switched, and I think I did a really good job of regrouping and continuing to focus on my side of the court. I am really happy to get the win”, said Keys. 

Eri Hozumi and Makoto Ninomiya saved a match point in the second set to beat Tereza Martincova and Marketa Vondrousova 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 10-7 in the match tie-break in the doubles final. Hozumi and Ninomiya were playing their first final as a team since they finished runner-up in the 2018 Roland Garros doubles final. 

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