MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Naomi Osaka has learned to appreciate her victories more after enduring the “toughest” year of her fledging career and the Japanese world number three says mentally she is in a better place to launch her Australian Open title defense.
Osaka started 2019 by winning her second straight Grand Slam title in Melbourne following her success at the 2018 U.S. Open but suffered early exits at Roland Garros and Wimbledon.
Ranking - US - Open - Title - Defense
The 22-year-old also lost her top ranking before disappointing in her U.S. Open title defense.
“I feel in a better head space though, compared to where I was after I lost Brisbane last year,” Osaka told reporters, referring to her semi-final defeat to Lesia Tsurenko in the Brisbane International, a warm-up event for Melbourne Park.
Year - Year - Life
“But honestly, last year was the toughest year of my life, so I would hope it gets better.”
Osaka regained some confidence towards the end of the season by claiming the Pan Pacific Open and China Open titles.
Path - Melbourne - Meeting - Seven-times - Grand
Her path in Melbourne could bring a third-round meeting with seven-times Grand Slam winner Venus Williams or rising American Coco Gauff, who play each other on Monday, while 2017 U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens awaits as a...
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