Naomi Osaka will have to go for gold in another three years. In one of the more shocking moments in the Tokyo Olympics, Osaka lost to former French Open finalist Marketa Vondrousova in the third round of the Olympic tennis tournament on Tuesday. This comes days after Osaka lit the cauldron at the opening ceremony.
"I'm disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,'' she said, while mentioning that the lighting of the cauldron is "undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life." According to ESPN, Osaka struggled with her groundstrokes while Vondrousova was able to hot on drop-shots that caught Osaka off-guard. Osaka, the No. 2-ranked player in the world, admitted there was an increased amount of pressure to win.
#42 Marketa Vondrousova shocks #2 Naomi Osaka 6-1, 6-4 in 67 minutes to reach the QFs in #Tokyo2020.
Awaits Badosa or Podoroska in a now very open section of the draw.
[getty] pic.twitter.com/uxrvGr8Nfi— José Morgado (@josemorgado) July 27, 2021
"I definitely feel like there was a lot of pressure for this," she said. "I think it's maybe because I haven't played in the Olympics before and for the first year [it] was a bit much." 2021 has been a very interesting year for Osaka. The 23-year-old won the Australian Open to claim her fourth grand slam title. She pulled out of the French Open early after being fined $15,000 for skipping a mandatory new conference. At the time, Osaka said she was taking a mental health break, revealing that she has dealt with depression.
"I've taken long breaks before and I've managed to do well," Osaka stated to a small group of reporters. "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 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."
As for Vondrousova, she knew that beating Osaka was going to be challenging. "I also [beat] Simona [Halep] twice, but I think now she [Osaka] is the greatest,'' Vondrousova said. "The greatest in the game, and she was also the face of the Olympics, so it was tough for her, I think, to play like this."