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Osaka Vows Not to Mope After Exit from Australian Open

Naomi Osaka said on Wednesday that her early exit from the Australian Open was “bittersweet,” but she also promised not to dwell on her disappointment. She left for home in time to witness her new daughter Shai make her first crawl.

The four-time Grand Slam champion from Japan, who has won two of his titles in Melbourne, announced his retirement from tennis in September 2022 because of mental health issues.

She came back for the 2024 season after giving birth to a girl in July, but on Monday she encountered an obstacle at the first Grand Slam of the year.

“I remember last year I wished I had an opportunity to play again on Rod Laver Arena and this year that happened, so one of my dreams already came true,” she said on social media.

“Currently, however, my entire being is so disappointed with my result, the standards I set myself are so incredibly high.

“I try to remind myself that I was pregnant six months ago and I can’t expect amazing results from the jump — that doesn’t really do much to quell my thoughts though.”

The rusty 26-year-old former world number one was knocked out by French 16th seed Caroline Gracia, losing steam after going toe-to-toe at the start of the match.

Despite her disappointment, Osaka said she was better able to deal with defeat now than earlier in her career.

“Understanding the importance of time is a skill I improved on after having Shai — things that used to bother me don’t bother me anymore, I don’t have time for it,” she said.

“In that same aspect I don’t feel I have time to mope after losses anymore. The world moves on and I have to continue to walk forward.”

Unlike some of the other mothers returning to the tennis circuit tour, such as Caroline Wozniacki and Angelique Kerber, Osaka opted not to travel with baby Shai.

But the early exit has allowed her to get back to her child sooner than expected.

“It’s a new bittersweet feeling. So sad to leave Melbourne early but I’m so happy to go see Shai soon,” she said.

“She’s been scooting back and forth lately so I’m relieved I’ll be back home in time to see her first crawl.”

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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