Former world number one Naomi Osaka dropped out of the top 10 rankings for the first time since winning the 2018 US Open.
Osaka, 23, decided to take a break from tennis following a third-round defeat to Leylah Fernandez that ended her US Open defence.
Speaking after her shock loss to Fernandez, the 23-year-old said: “This is very hard to articulate. Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry.
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“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while. How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently when I win I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.”
This came after the Japanese player withdrew from the French Open in May and missed Wimbledon too, revealing in a statement on Twitter that she had “suffered long bouts of depression" since a first Grand Slam win in 2018.
It was confirmed earlier in September that Osaka would not be in action at Indian Wells, which is one of the final big events of the 2021 season.
Osaka first took the number one spot after winning the Australian Open in 2019 but now sits 12th, falling five places down the WTA Tour rankings from number seven.
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In a recent interview with HBO show, The Shop, Osaka said: “I know I am going to play again,” adding that her return would be “probably soon”.
“I kind of have that itch again,” Osaka said.
The comments mean that Osaka could feature at the 2022 Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year.
She has won the tournament in Melbourne twice, both this year and 2019, and despite falling from the top 10 will be among the favourites.
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