Naomi Osaka has said that she needed to 'chill out a little bit' ahead of the Madrid Open in order to slow her mind down after the hectic start of the season.
Osaka has played five tournaments since tennis returned following the coronavirus pandemic which forced the tour to pause for a few months.
During that time she went on a 23-match winning streak winning both the US Open and Australian Open and has played just one tournament since then - the Miami Open.
Usually the Japanese star would have played at least the Dubai Open and Stuttgart in that time, but ahead of her Madrid campaign this week, Osaka revealed why she took a short break.
“After Miami I took a bit of a break because I felt like, I don’t know, I needed to slow my mind down a little bit,” said Osaka.
“I felt like I needed it because after Australia I had, like, one day of rest.
“Then I immediately started working. It wasn’t tennis, but other stuff. For me, I just felt like the hard-court swing, the Australian hard-court swing, plus Miami, was kind of compressed for me.
“I didn’t really have time to see my family because I haven’t seen them since Christmas before I went down to Florida. I just wanted to spend time with them and chill out a little bit.”
Osaka is second seed in Madrid this week in a strong field of players, with 11 of the world's top 15 players in attendance, and she says a clay title is something she is setting her sites on.
“I feel for me it’s exciting to go into the clay-court swing because I haven’t won a tournament on clay yet,” Osaka said.
“Even though that does make me a bit excited, it also gives me a bit of, like, stress because I really want to do well here.
“I think for me, I do better when I don’t stress myself out and tell myself that I have to win a tournament. But it’s really hard to fight that feeling when, I don’t know, you really want something.”
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