Naomi Osaka Says She Struggled With 'Scale of Everything' After Shock Olympics Defeat

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka said she struggled with "the scale of everything"after she was knocked out in the third round of the women's singles at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 23-year-old, who lit the Olympic flame during the opening ceremony, suffered a defeat to 2019 French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-4.

The four-time Grand Slam winner took an eight-week break prior to the Games for mental health reasons. She previously announced she wouldn't speak to the media during this year's French Open because of the toll news conferences take on players' emotional well-being, before withdrawing from the competition entirely.

In a brief statement to the media following her defeat, Osaka admitted the occasion may have gotten to her as she hoped to have played a bigger part in the competition and become the first Japanese tennis player to win Olympic gold.

"I feel like I should be used to it by now. But, at the same time, the scale of everything has been a bit hard because of the break that I took. I am glad I didn't lose in the first round at least," she said.

"I am really glad to be here. I am sad I lost, of course, but all in all, I am really happy with my first Olympic experience."

Osaka withdrew from this year's Wimbledon tournament, choosing to take a break. She previously revealed she had been suffering from depression since winning her first Grand Slam title in 2018.

The Japanese star was considered the favorite to win gold at this year's tournament, especially following the elimination of world No 1 and Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty from Australia.

Her defeat means that Vondrousova is the first player through to the quarterfinals. She will next play either Paula Badosa of Spain or Argentina's Nadia Podoroska.

Pressure to Do Well at Home

Osaka has spoken to the press at this year's tournament, with the questions capped and controlled by the International Tennis Federation (ITF).

After beating Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic 6-3 6-2 in the second round on Monday, Osaka admitted that the pressure on her to do well at the Games had increased because she has withdrawn from other competitions.

"I put this pressure on myself to do well because I know that I don't play that many tournaments," said Osaka. "For me, I feel like I've watched these players playing the tournaments while I was on my break, so I just really, really want to do well."

"I feel like, as long as I work hard, relatively keep my head down, then good things will happen," she added. "For me, it's a dream to be here, to play the Olympics. This is my first time. I'm just trying to cherish this experience."

Osaka previously beat China's Zheng Saisai in straight sets in the first round in what was her first appearance on the court in almost two months.

Naomi Osaka loses
Naomi Osaka of Team Japan plays a forehand during her Women's Singles Third Round match against Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Ariake Tennis Park on July 27, 2021, in Tokyo, Japan. David Ramos/Getty Images