With all the trials and tribulations of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: postponement, banning fans, losing billions of dollars, Naomi Osaka was supposed to be the light at the end of the tunnel. After setting aflame the Olympic cauldron to commence the Games, the No. 2 ranked tennis player in the world was expected to keep the gold in her home country of Japan. Osaka was defeated Tuesday afternoon and eliminated from the Tokyo Olympics.
Osaka lost to former French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-4 in the third round of the Olympic tennis tournament on Tuesday.
As the highest-paid female athlete in the world and the host country's face of the Games, the expectations were high to begin with and proved to be too hard to handle for the young star.
"I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this," Osaka said. "I think it's maybe because I haven't played in the Olympics before and for the first year [it] was a bit much.''
Naomi Osaka struggled the whole match, committing 14 unforced errors in the first set, and could not rely on her serve to take control of the match the way she usually does.
"I should be used to it by now, but the scale of everything is a bit hard because of the break that I took," she said of the pressure she has been under.
Osaka returned to the court for the Olympics after a two-month mental health break during which she withdrew from the French Open in May and did not compete at Wimbledon.
She revealed that she had struggled with depression since 2018 and that the public setting of news conferences made her feel uncomfortable. After organizers threatened to disqualify her if she did not adhere to media obligations, Osaka quit the French Open.
Osaka's loss on Tuesday was the second upset of a top-ranked player in the Tokyo Olympics. Australian tennis sensation Ashleigh Barty, the No. 1 ranked player, was defeated by Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo in the first round.
Vondrousova's quarterfinal opponent will be either Paula Badosa of Spain or Nadia Podoroska of Argentina.
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