Naomi Osaka admits she found it "hard" plummeting down world rankings

Tennis star Naomi Osaka

Tennis star Naomi Osaka has admitted she found it “hard” to plummet down the world rankings.

The four-time Grand Slam champion has fallen to 48th in the standings after two difficult years on the WTA Tour.

Osaka held the world number one spot for two periods in 2019, and remained in the world top 10 as she won both the US Open and Australian Open for a second time.

But her decline started last year after she stepped away from tennis due to mental health struggles, and the 24-year-old has not been able to find her feet again since.

What has Naomi Osaka said about her decline in form?

“It was kind of hard at first, just because I feel like I should be somewhere where I’m obviously currently not,” Osaka said.

“I think for me it’s more about being at peace with myself. I know that I’m here for a reason.”

The Japanese star suffered first round defeats at the French Open and US Open, and skipped Wimbledon with an achilles injury.

“This year has not been the best year for me but I’ve learned a lot about myself,” Osaka said.

“Life is ups and downs, and this year was more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”

Tennis star Naomi Osaka
TOKYO, JAPAN – SEPTEMBER 19: Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts while speaking to the media during the Access All Hour session during day one of Toray Pan Pacific Open at Ariake Coliseum on September 19, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Kiyoshi Ota/Getty Images)

Where is Naomi Osaka playing next?

Osaka is defending her title at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, a WTA 500 event which returns after a three-year absence following the coronavirus pandemic.

She faces stiff competition from US Open semifinalist Caroline Garcia, Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina and world number four Paula Badosa.

Osaka is set to be in action tomorrow, with her first match against Australia’s Daria Saville, the current world number 55.

“It feels really weird to hear that I’m the defending champion because it was the last time I played in 2019,” she said.

“I would love to win it again, but I think just taking it one match at a time… and also just playing in front of a crowd in Tokyo again, because the Olympics was crowdless, so it will just be nice to see people.”

1 of 15
Venus Williams and Serena Williams

How many Grand Slam doubles titles have Venus and Serena won together?

News Now - Sport News