July 01, 2019
Naomi Osaka heartbreakingly cracked under the strain of her shock first round defeat at Wimbledon on Monday night.
Naomi Osaka in tears at Wimbledon as pressure question compounds Yulia Putintseva defeat
The 21-year-old Japanese superstar fled her post match press conference to sob her heart out in the toilets at SW19 - as her nightmare season plunged to a new low.
Osaka, the former world no 1, crashed 7-6, 6-2 to unseeded Yulia Putintseva on the Centre Court in one of the upsets of the season so far.
The Japanese youngster, who has seen her form plummet since winning the US and Australian Opens back to back and having a 21 week run at no 1, looked shattered as she walked off court.
Osaka then stumbled through several answers in her post-match press conference before being asked if the pressure of being tennis’ latest young global superstar was difficult to get used to.
She whispered to the moderator: “Can I leave? I feel like I’m about to cry.”
Osaka was ushered out to the toilets, where she finally burst into tears.
It was her third defeat in a row to world no 39 Putintseva, and earlier she had said: “I just don’t think I played very well. But I wasn’t surprised because I’ve played her twice already. She mixes the ball up very well.
“Does the fact that others have gone out in the first round make me feel any better? No, that makes me feel worse.
Naomi Osaka in tears at Wimbledon as pressure question compounds Yulia Putintseva defeat
“I don’t know how to pick myself up. There are questions that people ask that I still haven’t figured out yet. The key for me is having fun. Learning how to take pressure off myself. I hope I can somehow find a way to do that.”
But Osaka denied that splitting from her coach Sascha Bajin after her Australian Open win in January, or her tender age were excuses for her slump, which has seen her reach only one semi-final since.
She said: “I don’t think splitting from my coach is related at all. And I wouldn’t blame my age. I’ve done a lot of good things and bad. I’m not the sort of person who would say because I am young I can get away with things.”
Putintseva, ranked 39 in the world, beat Osaka in straight sets at Birmingham three weeks ago, and at Hobart last year.
The Kazakhstan star said: “I'm not going to tell people my secrets why I keep beating her!
“She's always pressing. You have to stay cool.”
Four other women’s seeds crashed out on Monday – tenth seed Aryna Sabalenka lost to Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2, 6-4, no16 Marketa Vondrousova slumped 6-4, 6-4 to Madison Brengle of the USA, no 29 Daria Kasatkina went down 6-3 6-1 to Ajla Tomljanovic, and Caroline Garcia, the 23rd seed, lost 6-4, 6-0 to China’s Shuai Zhang.
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