In all the drama surrounding Novak Djokovic’s attempts to participate in the Australian Open, which ultimately lead to him being deported on the eve of this year’s first Grand Slam tournament, the returns of heavyweights like Naomi Osaka and Rafael Nadal have been overshadowed. However, that did not phase the tennis star at all, as Osaka advanced on Day 1 of the Australian Open.
This was the first big match for Osaka after she had taken a break from the sport to take care of her mental health, a move that brought her much scrutiny last year. For Osaka, this was a test to see how her new approach to tennis will hold up in the tough moments. One such moment was when she completely whiffed an overhead to give her opponent a breakpoint. Osaka didn’t respond with a sign of annoyance or anger, but instead, she smiled.
“There are situations where I previously would get upset. But at this point in my life, I’m here because I want to be here and because I find that it’s fun for me,” Osaka said. “Might as well enjoy it while I still can.” Osaka won her first five games on the way to a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Camila Osorio.
To the young tennis star, the drama surrounding Djokovic and the discourse with it was something for the players in the men’s draw to worry about. Her main concern is winning a third title in Australia in four years. Now that the tournament has started, we can finally focus on tennis in Australia.