Shoulder weight of Osaka after the start of the French Open.
PARIS: The weight of the expectation has finally been lifted Naomi osaka shoulders
The 21-year-old Japanese player entered. Roland Garros as World No. 1 for the first time and had been trying to achieve something that nobody else had done: winning his first two major titles, winning a third in succession.
Playing the 27 seeds Katerina Siniakova in the third round of the open French - a confrontation between the individual and double players No. 1 - Osaka collapsed and lost in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2.
Competing in the high-rebound clay, not on their preferred surface, under such scrutiny had been difficult for Osaka, who a year ago was ranked 70th in the world.
"I just feel like there has been a weight on me," Osaka told reporters after the Czech ended a 16-match win streak in the grand slams. "That's because everything is sort of new. I have played the open French before but not in this circumstance or situation, whichever one."
Very popular in his native Japan with a series of lucrative corporate endorsements, Osaka has become accustomed to its new status.
This tournament I had the feeling that it was different from the other Grand Slams, or all the other Grand Slam that I played, because I usually find it very funny and liberating, and this time I was a bit tense all the time, she said.
Having rallied after losing the first set in her opening match against 90th-ranked Slovakian Anna Karolina Schmiedlova and in her second-round tie with former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus, Osaka never settled against 23-year-old Siniakova, the reigning Wimbledon and open French doubles champion.
I would just say that I am very disappointed in how I played, and I wish I had done better, said Osaka, who broke three times, committed 38 unforced errors and reached 25 winners.
Siniakova did not drop the service, hit 12 winners and committed only 13 unforced errors.
One of the most aggressive players in the women's game, Osaka squandered the seven break points she created in the first set.
My returns were not very good today, he said. I knew it was flat. I knew that if I stayed in the rallies on the right side, probably definitely, 99% of the time, I would win the rally. But for some reason, I kept changing the line and really weird things.
However, Osaka said he is leaving Paris with a positive mindset.
It's weird, but I think losing is probably the best thing that could have happened, he said.
I was thinking too much about this calendar. For me, this is something I have always wanted to do, but I think I have to think about it as if it were so easy, everyone would have done it. I just have to keep training hard. and put myself in a position again to do it, hopefully.