It just feels like Naomi Osaka has been gone from tennis for years now, doesn’t it? In reality, it’s only been since September of 2022. Osaka lost in the first round of the US Open last year as well.
Since last year, however, she has sought help for the mental stress she was feeling and has also given birth to a daughter (on July 11th). After taking the next six months off to care for her child and get back into tour-level fitness, she will return to the game.
Naomi Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam winner having won the US Open and Australian Open twice each. She was also ranked number 1 in 2019. She last appeared in a WTA final at the Miami Open in 2022 and lost to Iga Swiatek 4-6 0-6. Her last tour victory came in the 2021 Australian Open.
Naomi Osaka sets her return and Amarissa Toth shows no class
But Naomi Osaka is also just 25 years old and could have many years of playing high-level tennis left. She was always physically capable of beating anyone, but, as many players do – heck, many humans do – she struggled with the pressure that came with being extremely successful at her job. Getting to the top of the game requires physical excellence, mental toughness, and a bit of luck. But the trek can also be emotionally exhausting.
Hopefully, Osaka can return in 2024 and get back close to where she was in 2019. She is a fantastic player and good for tennis. And the sport could use her right now.
Amarissa Toth was classless versus Shuai Zhang
In match news from Tuesday, Amarissa Toth, ranked 349 in the world, was playing second-seeded Shuai Zhang, ranked 28th on the WTA tour, in the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix. Toth is from Hungary (this is basically why she was in the tournament), and Zhang is Chinese. Tied at 5-all in the first set, Zhang hit a crosscourt forehand that appeared to land on the line for a winner. Only, the ball, after a bit of a delay, was called out.
Zhang disputed the call for quite some time and ask for the tournament supervisor, which was unlikely to happen. The crowd callously mocked Zhang a bit as well. However, Zhang appeared to be correct about the ball landing in and she would have won the point at a crucial time in the match.
Toth, though, walked over and wiped away the mark with her shoe. Of course, if the ball was clearly out then Toth wouldn’t have needed to do this. Zhang went over to sit on her chair, got fairly emotional due to the frustration of the situation, and decided to retire. Toth then started celebrating as if she had actually done something to win the match.
Zhang is a very well-liked player on the WTA and even got up to shake the umpire’s hand after she retired, though many players wouldn’t have bothered. She deserved better. And hopefully, Toth will get crushed in her next match.