Naomi Osaka taken down at the Olympics

Naomi Osaka taken down at the Olympics
Naomi Osaka (Photo credit: / Leonard Zhukovsky)

Naomi Osaka, the world’s premier tennis player, saw her dreams of capturing an Olympic gold medal in her home country crushed after being defeated soundly during her third-round match in Tokyo.

The four-time Grand Slam champion and current No. 2 player in the world was thoroughly vanquished on Tuesday, July 27, 2021, by Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, 6-1, 6-4.

The upset comes just days after Osaka said she had a next-level experience lighting the Olympic torch on July 23, saying unequivocally that it will always be “the greatest athletic achievement and honor” of her entire life.

Osaka appeared doomed from the very beginning as she tried to grind her way through 32 unforced errors, which is very uncharacteristic of the young superstar.

Osaka can take heart, though. She joined other elite players in her sport who suffered early exits. The current world No. 1 player and Wimbledon champion Ashleigh Barty of Australia lost in the opening round to Spain’s Sara Sorribes Tormo.  The player seeded behind Osaka in the world rankings, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, also lost to Croatia’s Donna Vekic in the second round, CNN reports.

Fans and sports pundits were particularly taken aback by this loss by Osaka, however. She was playing on her favorite surface — the hard court. All seven of her career titles, including four Grand Slam wins, have been won on that particular surface.

Moreover, Osaka said she was in a much better place after she ended her months-long moratorium from media interviews. She told the press she was “refreshed” and “happy” again after plunging into depression and anxiety at the start of the French Open in May 2021.

“I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,” Osaka said of the Olympic defeat.

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