Osaka Reveals Why She Cried After Heartbreaking Defeat To Swiatek At Roland Garros

Osaka Reveals Why She Cried After Heartbreaking Defeat To Swiatek At Roland Garros

by Nurein Ahmed

Naomi Osaka came close to knocking out defending champion Iga Swiatek in the second round of the 2024 Roland Garros but lost an instant classic in three sets that would drive her to tears.

Osaka and Swiatek have a combined eight Grand Slams (four apiece), and a high-quality match ensued when the pair locked horns on Wednesday. In a battle between former and current World No. 1s, the contest lived up to its pre-match hype and anticipation.

Swiatek won the opening set 7-6 in over an hour after saving a set point at 4-5 down. But the Japanese star did not give in and mounted a comeback, breaking the Pole three times in the second set, which was one-way traffic. She clinched it 6-1 and leveled the match.

At that point, Osaka was the better player and playing with sky-high confidence. The 26-year-old carried that momentum into the third set, where she bossed proceedings, breaking Swiatek again to take a 3-0 lead.

However, some uncharacteristic errors from Osaka at 5-4 while serving for the match gave Swiatek another life in the tournament. One match point came and went in a flash for the Japanese, who saw the top seed claw her way back by winning five straight games from 2-5 down.

Osaka was applauded as she walked off the court, and her coaching team was almost in disbelief that she let the match slip away from her grasp. On talking to the reporters after the match, the former World No. 1 revealed that she shed tears in the locker room.

"I cried when I got off the court, but then I realized I watched Iga (Swiatek) win this tournament last year [while] pregnant. It was just my dream to be able to play her. When I kind of think of it like that, I think I'm doing pretty well."

But despite the heartbreaking defeat, Osaka was still upbeat about her performance just five months into the season after her maternity leave. She admitted that she keeps her personal notebook, where she writes positive affirmations that lift her mood.

If she continues to play in a similar vein during the grass-court swing, which begins on June 10th, she'll certainly get back to the upper echelons of the sport sooner.

"You know, I have my little book, right? So in it today I just wrote, 'I'm proud of you,' and I think for me, saying that to myself gives me a lot of power because normally, not normally, but sometimes I curse myself out in my head, and it's quite a negative feeling. I would just say I'm proud of the journey, and I'm hoping, hopefully it'll get more and more positive."


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