"..I probably haven't had fun playing tennis since Australia and I'm finally coming to terms with that while relearning tthat fun feeling," Naomi Osaka had said on her social media. Since winning the U.S.
Open last year and then capturing the Australian Open title, she hasn't held any thoughts back as to how she feels after getting that No. 1 ranking. It was hard work on all counts. It was a major job keeping consistent and playing well, being accessible to the barrage of media interviews and photoshoots as well as offers from various sponsors.
Some may have thought being in the top 10 or 20 was just as good, but life as a top player can never be duplicated. Osaka has had it all and in a short time...then things took a nosedive. Since being No. 1, she wasn't able to win a title, released her coach Sascha Bajin, had her no.
1 ranking taken from her by Ashleigh Barty and lost at the opening round of Wimbledon by Yulia Putintseva. She admits to having the tendency to blame herself not wanting to lay her problems on someone else's shoulders. But she shares those sentiments with many who was no.
1 or 2, trying and learning to deal with situations. Angelique Kerber became no. 1 almost three years ago in September 2016. She was the oldest woman top ranker at 28 since Victoria Azarenka in 2102. The German was out at the first round of theFrench Open by Kiki Bertens.
Then Kerber had to withdraw from a tournament because of a shoulder injury. "I'm disappointed that I lost in the first round, but that's the sport and that always can happen," she said. Czech Karolina Pliskova had a stint at being no.
1 too. She acquired the ranking because of Simona Halep's loss to Johanna Konta. "It was a little bit of a strange situation...at first I was not really happy or sure if I wanted to get there like this," Pliskova analyzed.
The No. 1 spot at times is awkward and depends on how a player has arrived there. But once there, one's entire life changes. Things can't stay the same. The pressure and appointments continue and the player qualifies for all the events, no matter if they choose to play them or not.
It might stick in her head a bit on losing the opener of Wimbledon but at a press conference said "I feel like I should have been able to play well today because I wasn't practicing bad...but you never know what's going to happen during matches."
Osaka has had a nice amount of time between Wimbledon and the Rogers Cup in Toronto. Canada is a new and different area. It's not the oftentimes dreaded grass surface, but hard courts. Things may go well. Tennis may start to be fun for the skilled Osaka again and hopefully she'll feel better again, playing and sightseeing to help her relax and create many victories but most of all to have fun.