Naomi Osaka opens on how she feels now compared to last year

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Naomi Osaka opens on how she feels now compared to last year

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka reveals she is now in a much better space than she was a year ago. A year ago, 24-year-old Osaka opened up about battling depression and anxiety for years. After her first round win at the French Open, Osaka pulled out of the rest of the tournament to focus on her mental health.

Osaka appeared in just three more tournaments in the rest of 2021 before deciding to take her second break - again to address her mental health. Osaka is hoping to do well at the Indian Wells Masters but her primary goal is to have fun and enjoy playing.

"Honestly, I feel like I'm at peace with myself, which I think is a great feeling to have as a person. I'm really grateful because I was watching qualifying the other day here and was walking around," Osaka said.

"Usually when I walk around, people are like 'win the tournament, I have tickets to the final' kind of thing. And, actually people were just saying, 'I hope you have fun.' I know that's not the biggest difference, but it really meant a lot to me."

Time off helped Osaka

Following a surprise third round loss at the US Open, Osaka broke down in tears during her press conference and revealed her plans to take another break so she could focus on her mental health. Osaka returned to action in Australia and she looked much happier on the court compared to last year.

"Just saying out loud that I'll take a break and I will come back when I am truly in love with the sport and I know what I want to do here... it gave me time to reset myself," Osaka said. "I think it was important for me to be public, because I would always feel the need to put my thoughts out there. I think it gives me more clarity. I feel like being honest to everyone is really important."