Naomi Osaka pulls out of tournament due to being homesick: ‘Makes me sad’
Osaka does not see herself as a player that plays week in and out
Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka has pulled out of next month’s Stuttgart Open after confessing to being homesick and unsure of long stretches on the road.
Osaka, who is currently ranked the number two tennis female player in the world, withdrew from WTA clay-court competition which is set to begin April 17-15 in southwest Germany. The games serve as a build-up to the French Open that is scheduled to begin on May 23.
Organizers confirmed on Wednesday that she will begin the European season later in May.
Osaka is fresh off her first Grand Slam title of 2021 after she beat USA’s Jennifer Brady in the Australian Open final in January. However, she told reporters in Miami that there wasn’t a desire on her part to travel so much and play in as many tournaments, Yahoo News reported.
“Well for me, I’m not really sure what a normal schedule is but I’ve never thought of myself as the player that would play week-in and week-out,” Osaka said. “I personally get homesick quite often and it makes me kinda sad sometimes.”
“I would like to travel somewhere and focus on that tournament.”
The Japanese and Haitian superstar added that she’d be more selective in the games she chose to play in 2021.
“I’d love to just travel somewhere and just really focus on that tournament; for me that is something that I’ve learned works for me,” said Osaka.
“Hopefully it will work for me this time in Europe because my results there haven’t been that great, but I feel like every year I am on tour I learn more about myself and what type of schedule I like to play.”
Being closer to home will allow Osaka, 23, to spend more time with her loved ones such as her boyfriend, rapper Cordae. Osaka shouted him out on Instagram on Thursday and posted a picture of them at the 2020 U.S. Open final.
She shared that Cordae dropped everything to be at her side after being low in spirits.
“Appreciation post for the mister because I feel like it today 😂🙏🏾this pic was right after winning the US Open finals. He stopped everything he was doing because I FaceTimed him a couple days earlier and said I was feeling sad and lonely in the bubble,” she captioned the post.
“I later found out that he hopped on a plane shortly after that call and then quarantined himself for a couple days in a hotel to see me and support. The funniest part is even after doing all this I’m still convinced he doesn’t understand the rules of tennis lol.”
Osaka ultimately won the U.S. Open and did so while wearing masks that raised awareness about the deaths of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Osaka told Vogue that it was important to use her platform.
“I was just thinking that I had this opportunity to raise awareness,” Osaka told Vogue. “Tennis is watched all around the world, so people who might not know these names can Google them and learn their stories.”
“That was a big motivator for me, and I think it helped me win the tournament.”
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