Naomi Osaka bowed out of the first round of the Australian Open with grace and confidence.
Her first major match since returning just a month ago from maternity leave and a mental health break didn’t go as well as Osaka had hoped.
She lost to 16th-ranked Caroline Garcia in two sets 6-4 7-6 (2).
“I wouldn’t say, like, this comeback is how I thought because I’m delusional enough to think I could have won the tournament,” she told ESPN. She quickly added “I think my delusion is what allows me to win the tournaments.”
It was her first major tournament since the U.S. Open in 2022. She did it at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne where she won the same tournament in 2019 and 2021.
“I felt like I did the best that I could possibly do. It was just really nice to be on Rod Laver again, hear the audience, how much they interacted with the match. That was fun,” Yahoo Sports reported her as saying. “I don’t regret anything. I think I’ve learned a lot during this trip, both on the court and off the court.”
Garcia acknowledged Osaka’s comeback and said she has put her competitors on notice.
“She’s been through a lot, but I’m just very glad to see her back and I hope she can enjoy the tennis now and have fun out there. She’s a great girl. I mean, six months after giving birth she is playing quite amazing already, so we have to watch out,” Garcia reportedly said, according to AFP.
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