Struggling Naomi Osaka admitted on Monday that she had gone through “more down than up” this year as she tries to break out of her slump at her home Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo this week.
The former world No 1 and four-time Grand Slam champion has plummeted to 48 in the women’s tennis world rankings after a wretched run that has seen her crash out in the first round of her last three tournaments.
The Japanese 24-year-old has not won a title since last year’s Australian Open and has been hampered with injury this season.
But Osaka is hoping to right the ship at the WTA event in Tokyo where she is defending champion, albeit from three years ago as the tournament returns for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic.
She will face stiff competition from a field that includes US Open semifinalist Caroline Garcia of France, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan and Spain’s world No 4 Paula Badosa.
“This year has been not the best year for me but I’ve learned a lot about myself,” Osaka said, adding that she was “happy to be healthy”.
“Life is ups and downs, and this year was more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”