The four-time Grand Slam champion is heading home early following her opening match defeat to Amanda Anisimova 7-5, 6-4 at Roland Garros. Anisimova, an American, has now bested Osaka in consecutive Grand Slams after her third-round victory at the Australian Open in January.
Osaka bowed out of last year’s French Open citing mental health reasons and vowed to avoid talking to the media. She created a firestorm in the process, receiving support from some, and criticism from others.
“I’m not going to lie. When I first came here, I was very worried,” Osaka admitted last week. “I was just kind of worried if there would be people that — of course, I also didn’t like how I handled the situation — but I was worried that there were people that I offended some way, and I would just kind of bump into them.”
“But I think everyone has been really positive, for the most part. I’m not really so sure. I was also very worried about this press conference because I knew I’d get a lot of questions about this,” she added.
Anisimova, 20, reached the French Open semifinals in 2019, eventually losing to champion Ashleigh Barty in three sets.
Osaka, who hasn’t advanced past the third round at Roland Garros, has been dealing with an Achilles injury. She didn’t play in a clay court tune-up in Rome earlier this month.
During their first-round match, Osaka double-faulted twice on break point in each set. The second double fault gave Anisimova a 4-3 lead. Osaka took a 40-0 lead in the next game, but the American held, eventually winning in straight sets.
Anisimova will face Croatia’s Donna Vekic in the second round Wednesday.
After the match, Osaka said she is leaning toward not competing in Wimbledon, which begins next month.
Her comments came following the decision to remove ranking points from Wimbledon after the All England Club banned Russian and Belarusian players from competing over the invasion of Ukraine.
Osaka said the move to withhold ranking points from Wimbledon “is kind of affecting my mentality” and she is “not 100% sure if I’m going to go there.”
Osaka said she is “the type of player that gets motivated by seeing my ranking go up,” but added that she needs to think about the issue more before making a final decision and could change her mind.
Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and the Associated Press contributed to this report