Naomi Osaka Says 'I'm Happy Again' Following Olympics Win After Sitting out Wimbledon

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJuly 25, 2021

Naomi Osaka, of Japan, plays against Saisai Zheng, of China, during the first round of the tennis competition at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Sunday, July 25, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
AP Photo/Seth Wenig

After withdrawing from the French Open and sitting out Wimbledon to focus on her mental health, Naomi Osaka says she's in a better place.

"More than anything else, I'm just focused on playing tennis," Osaka told reporters. "The Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, so I feel like the break that I took was very needed. I feel definitely a little bit refreshed, and I'm happy again."

Osaka easily moved to the second round with a 6-1, 6-4 win over China's Zheng Saisai in her first match since withdrawing at Roland Garros over the tournament's media policy. Osaka said she wished to avoid speaking to reporters at the event because of mental health concerns and was fined by Roland Garros after skipping out of her media responsibilities.

When the French Open threatened her with potential disqualification from the event, Osaka withdrew rather than continuing the controversy. She later withdrew from Wimbledon as well.

"There's nothing wrong with my body; I just felt really nervous," Osaka said. "I haven't played since France, so there were definitely some things that I did a bit wrong, but I think I can improve in the matches that I continue playing."

Osaka may now be considered the favorite for her first gold medal after No. 1 seed Ash Barty was upset in Round 1. Osaka faces Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic in Round 2 on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET.