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Naomi Osaka sees tennis back ‘soon’ after feeling ‘itch’ to play again

Naomi Osaka sees tennis back ‘soon’ after feeling ‘itch’ to play again

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka looks set to return to tennis shortly after the “itch” to play again.

Osaka said at the US Open earlier this month that she would be taking a break from playing to concentrate on her mental health following her third-round loss to Leylah Fernandez.

But the 23-year-old said on HBO’s “The Shop” that he still loves the sport and already wants to get back on the court.

“I know I’ll be playing again, maybe soon because I’m a bit itchy again,” he said. “But it doesn’t matter to me if I win or lose. I’ll just be happy to be back on the pitch.”

Osaka, who has slumped to seventh in the world, said tough matches were starting to weigh on her and she needed a break to freshen up.

“I used to like competition and was just competitive. If I play long matches, the longer the more fun for me,” he said.

“Then I started to feel — recently — I was getting more and more stressed. But I just needed a break to get into myself.”

Roger Federer has added his voice to growing calls for changes in the way players and the media interact after players’ mental health issues came into the spotlight when Osaka withdrew from back-to-back French Opens with tournament officials due to media duties.

Sloane Stephens and Shelby Rogers also spoke after their US Open game about how social media abuse was impacting their mental health.

Federer, who shares a record 20 men’s majors with Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, said the situation needed to be reconsidered.

“I think players, tournaments, journalists, we need to sit together in a room and say, ‘OK, what works for you and what works for us,'” Federer told Britain’s GQ magazine on Monday.

“We need a revolution. Or at least an evolution of where we are today.

“Even when I feel down, I know I have to act in a certain way in front of the world’s press. We need to remember that tennis players are athletes and professionals, but we are human too.”


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