Naomi Osaka says Olympic pressure was ‘a bit much’ following loss

The tennis star lost on Tuesday to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic at the Tokyo Olympics, a stunning defeat.

Loading the player...

Naomi Osaka has faced enormous pressure for the entire year, culminating with a surprise loss at Tokyo Olympics. The tennis star opened up about it all following her exit on early Tuesday.

From Osaka’s stunning turns in various tennis competitions, to her choosing her peace and putting her mental health first when withdrawing from the French Open, 2021 has been a landmark year for her.

While she won her first Olympic match on Sunday, the 23-year-old lost a match in the third round on Tuesday to Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic.

Afterward, Osaka reportedly opened up about her headspace following the defeat.

Naomi Osaka of Team Japan prepares to receive serve during her Women’s Singles Third Round match against Marketa Vondrousova of Team Czech Republic on day four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Tennis Park on July 27, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Per The Associated Press, she called the pressure around her “a bit much” after her loss. “I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others.”

“I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this,” continued Osaka, “I think it’s maybe because I haven’t played in the Olympics before, and for the first year, (it) was a bit much.”

Not only does she have the pressure of being one of the biggest faces in sports today, but Osaka also was playing for Japan, home of the Tokyo Olympics. Speaking on the long break she took before games, she explained to a group of reporters, “I’ve taken long breaks before and I’ve managed to do well. I’m not saying that I did bad right now, but I do know that my expectations were a lot higher.”

“I feel like my attitude wasn’t that great,” she said, “because I don’t really know how to cope with that pressure, so that’s the best that I could have done in this situation.”

Naomi Osaka of Team Japan (left) leaves the court aside Marketa Vondrousova of Team Czech Republic after Vondrousova won their Women’s Singles Third Round match against on Day Four of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Her victorious opponent, Vondrousova, also reportedly shared her thoughts about the unique pressure Osaka has faced in the competition, saying, “It’s tough for her also playing in Japan and in the Olympics. It’s so much pressure, I cannot imagine.”

Despite her defeat, Osaka still has plenty of positive memories of her Olympics debut, including winning her first match and having the high honor of lighting the Olympic cauldron — the latter of which, she said, was “undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life.”

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s podcast, “Dear Culture?” Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download theGrio today!

Loading the player...