Naomi Osaka’s Olympic run has come to an end after the tennis star was defeated by the Czech Republic’s Marketa Vondrousova in the third round of the Olympic tennis tournament on Tuesday (July 27). Speaking with press, Osaka said the pressure she felt while competing in the Olympic Games proved too much to handle.
“I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,’’ she said. “I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this. I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in the Olympics before and for the first year [it] was a bit much.’’
Osaka, who was born in Japan but grew up in the United States, was playing for her home country in the Tokyo Olympics.
“It’s tough for her also playing in Japan and in the Olympics,’’ Vondrousova said of the match. “It’s so much pressure, I cannot imagine.’’
The Olympics marked a return to competition for Osaka, who withdrew from the French Open, Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
“I’ve taken long breaks before and I’ve managed to do well,” she said after her loss. “I’m not saying that I did bad right now, but I do know that my expectations were a lot higher.”
“I feel like my attitude wasn’t that great because I don’t really know how to cope with that pressure, so that’s the best that I could have done in this situation,” she added.
Earlier this week, Osaka called lighting the Olympic cauldron during the opening ceremony “the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life.”
“I have no words to describe the feelings I have right now but I do know I am currently filled with gratefulness and thankfulness,” she wrote on Twitter. “Love you guys thank you.”