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Kimiko Date, a former world number four, said she understands Naomi Osaka’s issues, but said that her Japanese fellow must find a way to deal with the expectations that come with success on the global stage

After a third-round loss to Leylah Fernandez at the US Open last month, Osaka, 24, said that she will take a break from tennis to focus on her mental health.

The former world number one has been off of form since withdrawing from the French Open in May due to a dispute with tournament officials about mandatory media appearances, which she said had a negative impact on her game.

“Osaka and I have one thing in common,” Date, who reached three Grand Slam singles semi-finals in the mid-1990s, told the Number 1 Shimbun publication.

“We rose up the rankings very suddenly and we weren’t really prepared for what it meant. Her personality is one that takes everything to heart in a serious way and this exacerbates the problems she’s had.

Date said Osaka’s nature affected how she handled the media.

“I think she takes questions in a different way and is very serious in the way she handles questions,” she said.

“You can deal with the media in many ways; you can say everything to them, or a little bit or nothing. I get the impression Osaka actually takes her media obligations too seriously.

“Maybe she thinks she has to answer all their questions and so feels pressure that way.”

Date, who announced her retirement in 1996 before returning in 2008 and playing for another nine years, believes that stress affects all top athletes.

“But they have to find a way to deal with these problems,” Date said.

“You can’t refuse to attend press conferences just because you lose. You have to find a way to deal with the media.”

Also Read:- French Open Chief “Sorry And Sad” Over Naomi Osaka Withdrawal


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