Osaka says she's getting the


Osaka says she's getting the "itch" to return to tennis "soon"

Phil Egan
Phil Egan

11:28 27 Sep 2021

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Four-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka expects to return to tennis in the near future after getting the "itch" to play again.

The 23-year-old took a break from tennis in early September following her shock defeat to Leylah Fernandez in round three of the US Open in New York, where she had won in 2020.

Osaka missed Wimbledon this year and withdrew from the French Open to focus on her mental health.

The Japanese star returned for the Tokyo Olympics and lit the flame at the opening ceremony before a third-round exit at the hands of Marketa Vondrousova.

Osaka confirmed last week that she would not be competing at Indian Wells but said on HBO’s The Shop she would be back on court soon.

"I want to feel like I’m playing for myself," Osaka said.

"And I started to feel like that power was being taken away from me in the way that I felt like I wasn’t playing to make myself happy and I was more concerned about, if I won or lost, what would people say about me.

"And I just used to love the competition and just being competitive. If I were to play a long match, the longer it was, the more fun it was for me.

"And then I just started to feel, like recently, the longer it was, the more stressed out I became.

"But I just needed a break to go within myself and reclaim what was it that [provided motivation].

"Probably soon, because I kind of have that itch again, but it wouldn’t really matter to me if I won or lost.

"I’d just have the joy of being back on the court, just to know that I’m doing it for myself."

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