‘Perfectionist’ Naomi Osaka wants to change mentality at US Open and beyond

‘Perfectionist’ Naomi Osaka wants to change mentality at US Open and beyond

Naomi Osaka of Japan will face Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic on day one of the 2021 US Open tennis tournament at the USTA Billie King National Tennis Center. Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sport

NEW YORK – Defending US Open champion Naomi Osaka said on Monday that she had put undue pressure on herself by constantly striving for perfection and that in the future she wanted to stop picking holes in her own performance and be happy with her best. to do.

Osaka, who started her title defense in Flushing Meadows with a 6-4 6-1 win over Czech Marie Bouzkova, withdrew from the French Open this year after being fined and threatened with eviction for refusing to perform media duties. feed.

The former world number one had said that confrontation with the media had contributed to the psychological problems she struggled with for years.

She told reporters on Monday that she was her own worst critic.

“I tell people I’m a perfectionist,” said Osaka, who beat American great Serena Williams to win the first of her four Grand Slam titles at the US Open in 2018.

“I think for me anything less than perfection, even if it might be something great, is a disappointment.

“I don’t think that’s really a healthy way of thinking. So something I really wanted to change,” she added.

The 23-year-old said she wanted to be happy knowing she had done her best at the US Open and that even if she made mistakes, she would learn from them and keep playing.

“It’s not really a tournament thing, it’s more of a life thing. As I hope I can hold this mindset for the rest of my life,” she added.

Osaka had said on social media this weekend that she plans to celebrate her own achievements more and told reporters Monday it was important to believe in herself more.

“For me, one of the most important things to hear a little kid say that I’m their favorite player or that I’m a role model. Instinctively, the first thought in my head is, “Why?”

“I feel like I need to embrace the feeling more, the honor that they tell me that, and I should believe in myself more. I feel like if you don’t believe in yourself, other people won’t believe in you. “

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