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Osaka returns to court two months after tearful exit

NEW YORK:

Naomi Osaka said Friday on social media she is “back” on the tennis court after making a tearful US Open exit two months ago declaring she was taking a break.
The four-time Grand Slam champion from Japan tweeted two photos of her holding a racquet on a court, one of them showing her wearing workout apparel.
“Kinda rusty but feels good to be back,” Osaka tweeted with the photos. “I really want to say thank you everyone for all the kind messages, I really appreciate it.”
It was a sharp contrast to her look and emotions on September 3 in New York when she revealed unhappiness about playing tennis following a loss to Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez.
Osaka, who had been the defending champion, admitted after the defeat that “I’m dealing with some stuff,” and then elaborated on her emotional turmoil.
“I feel like for me recently, when I win, I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad,” Osaka said. “I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.
“Basically I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match.
“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.”
Osaka, indeed, has not played a WTA event since losing in New York. Her tweet provided no hint of when and where she might return.
World number 13 Osaka, who celebrated her 24th birthday last month, is the reigning champion at the Australian Open, which is set to start in Melbourne on January 17.

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