Naomi Osaka has made a winning start at the Tokyo Olympics, beating Zheng Saisai of China 6-1, 6-4 in the opening round.
Osaka hasn't played since withdrawing from the French Open in May due to mental struggles associated with fulfilling her media duties at Grand Slams. She subsequently withdrew from Wimbledon for the same reason.
However, as one of the main faces of the Tokyo Olympics, the world number two always maintained she would return to court to represent her home country and made a strong start with a straightforward win on Sunday.
After the match Osaka spoke to the media and said although it felt a little 'out of her body' she was glad she'd took the break.
“More than anything else I’m just focused on playing tennis,” Osaka said.
“The Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a kid so I feel like the break that I took was very needed. I feel definitely a little bit refreshed and I’m happy again.”
With regard to how she felt facing the media, the Japanese star said was happy then added: “I feel a little bit out of my body right now.
“There’s nothing wrong with my body, I just felt really nervous,” Osaka said.
“I haven’t played since France so there were definitely some things that I did a bit wrong but I think I can improve in the matches that I continue playing.”
Osaka was chosen to light the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony and said the honor of being asked made her feel proud.
“When I lit the flame I was super honored,” said Osaka.
“I think that’s a position that you dream about and not anyone can do it so for me when they asked me if I wanted to I was very surprised but very honored and I’m just very happy to be here and very happy to play — especially in Tokyo.”
Osaka will next face 50th-ranked Viktorija Golubic of Switzerland and with world number one Ashleigh Barty losing in her first round clash, Osaka is now the highest ranked women's player left in the tournament.
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