Naomi Osaka in spotlight as US Open begins

Osaka 2

Naomi Osaka launches
her bid for a third US Open title in four years on Monday, aiming to put
turmoil behind her as she chases her second Grand Slam title of 2021.

Osaka, who rocketed to fame when she beat superstar Serena
Williams in the 2018 US Open final, appeared set for a sparkling 2021 campaign
after she beat American Jen Brady in the Australian Open final in February to
capture her fourth major crown.

But she has played sparingly since, pulling out of the
French Open after she was fined for failing to meet mandatory media
requirements.

Osaka, who said she believed post-match news conferences
were detrimental to her mental health, opted out of Wimbledon as well, and
after the magical moment of lighting the cauldron at the Tokyo Olympics bowed
out in the third round.

Although she also lost in the third round at Cincinnati in
August, Osaka said she was “pretty happy” with her game heading into
the high-pressure atmosphere of the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in
Flushing Meadows.

As she looked ahead to her Monday opener against Czech Marie
Bouzkova Osaka said in a social media post that she wants to start to savor her
accomplishments and let go of negative thoughts.

“Recently I’ve been asking myself why do I feel the way
I do and I realize one of the reasons is because internally I think I’m never
good enough,” she wrote. “I never tell myself that I’ve done a good
job, but I do know I constantly tell myself that I suck or I could do better.

“Seeing everything that’s going on in the world I feel
like if I wake up in the morning that’s a win,” Osaka wrote. “Your
life is your own and you shouldn’t value yourself on other people’s standards.
I know I give my heart to everything I can and if that’s not good enough for
some then my apologies but I can’t burden myself with those expectations
anymore.”

Osaka has already acknowledged that it will take some
adjusting after last year’s spectator ban to adjust to the return of fans to
the 23,771-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Crowds at the normally rowdy Open will be back at full
capacity, although organizers announced last week that all attendees will be
required to provide proof of having received at least one Covid-19 vaccination.

With world number one Novak Djokovic waiting in the wings,
second-ranked Daniil Medvedev closes out the action on Ashe on Monday against
French veteran Richard Gasquet.

Play opens with former women’s champion Sloane Stephens
taking on Madison Keys in an All-American clash.

Murray v Tsitsipas

Then former champion Andy Murray faces a daunting challenge
as he continues his return from his latest injury as he goes up against
third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.

“Not the easiest draw out there,” Murray, whose
2012 US Open triumph was the first of his three Grand Slam victories, said.

“When you’re not seeded, these sorts of things can
happen,” Murray said, adding that he thought the New York crowd could help
him.

“They like people that fight, give their all, show
their heart and emotion and energy on the court,” he said.

Elsewhere on Monday, former world number one Victoria
Azarenka — who fell to Osaka in last year’s final — takes on Czech Tereza
Martincova on Grandstand court.

Also on Grandstand Simona Halep, who was forced out of her
Wimbledon title defense with a calf injury, takes on Italian Camila Giorgi.

Women’s second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus faces Serb
Nina Stojanovic to open the night session on Louis Armstrong court, where
rising US star Coco Gauff anchors the day session and mercurial Australian Nick
Kyrgios brings down the curtain against Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut.

Author: desi123

Desi123.com is an online news portal that aims to provide the latest trendy news for Asians living in Asia and around the World.

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