No More Teary Press Conferences

By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Monday January 3, 2021

Naomi Osaka has set a new goal for herself: never cry in the pressroom.

During a good-natured banter with the press after her three-set win over Alizé Cornet on Tuesday in Melbourne, the four-time Grand Slam champion admitted that she had taken things a little too seriously in 2021.

Tennis Express

“Also I have a goal in the pressroom, that I’m never going to cry again, so hopefully that works out in my favor,” she said. “I just feel like for me, I’m the type of person that cared a little bit too much about the results and the ranking and stuff like that. And I just need to find a way to enjoy the game again because that’s the reason why I was playing in the first place.”

Osaka made major headlines off court last season when her decision to boycott her press conferences at Roland-Garros was met with resistance by the tournament and the Grand Slams, who threatened to take action against her if she didn’t comply with press obligations.

It all ended badly, with Osaka withdrawing from the tournament after one round. She would also skip Wimbledon, and when she made her return in the United States she had teary press conferences in Cincinnati and at the US Open, before shutting down her season.

She says the time off was great for her, and most important, it made her realize how much she missed the sport.

“During the off-season I just hung out with my friends and talked to my family a lot,” she said. “I felt like that was a way of decompressing the pressure I had on myself. Then I just slowly started to regain the feeling of love that I had towards the game.

“It’s not like it ever completely went away, but I felt like it got overshadowed by a lot of emotions that I was feeling just by constantly playing year after year since I was like — I started tennis when I was three years old, and I never really took a break.

“Yeah, sometimes it’s just good to remember why you’re playing and stuff.”

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