IMAGES from Day 2 of The 2022 French Open at Roland Garros in Paris.
IMAGE: Japan’s Naomi Osaka reacts after losing against Amanda Anisimova of USA during the first round match. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Japan’s Naomi Osaka crashed out of the French Open in a 7-5, 6-4 first-round loss to American Amanda Anisimova on Monday, a year after her dramatic withdrawal from the claycourt Grand Slam tournament amid mental health issues.
Up against 27th seed Anisimova, four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka never looked comfortable on her least favourite surface as she struggled to control her powerful game.
The first three games all went against serve in a tense start but Anisimova held to go 3-1 ahead.
A backhand error by Anisimova allowed Osaka to level for 3-3, but a double fault in the 11th game allowed Anisimova to move 6-5 up and she held serve to love to take the set.
Anisimova broke decisively for 4-3 in the second set as Osaka again double faulted game.
After a couple of match points went begging, Anisimova finished it off with a stunning backhand winner down the line.
Osaka withdrew from the tournament in 2021 after boycotting post-match media duties for mental health reasons.
In the build-up to last year’s French Open, Osaka said she would not attend the obligatory news conferences for players after matches as they impacted her mental wellbeing.
The Japanese, who at that time revealed she had been suffering from depression for almost three years, returned to competitive tennis at the Tokyo Olympics after the saga cast a spotlight on players’ post-match media duties.
Roland Garros organisers conceded they could “do better” on mental health this year.