When it comes to Naomi Osaka, the greatest new star in tennis, this was never meant to be the way things turned out. At the beginning of the year, her popularity, reach, and success seemed to have no bounds.
Since then, Osaka has had a succession of setbacks and defeats that have been so debilitating that she said after the most recent one, which occurred on Friday night at the U.S. Open, that she did not know when she will play her next tennis match.
After losing her composure when serving for the match, the third-seeded Osaka collapsed in the following tiebreaker and was unable to regain her calm in the third set, falling down 7-6 (2), 6-4 in 2 hours and 4 minutes on Friday night, she was eliminated from the competition.
Following the end of the match, the players exchanged handshakes before Fernandez lifted her arms in triumph and waved to the audience.
Just a few weeks ago, Osaka was awarded one of the most prestigious distinctions in all of sports: she was chosen to ignite the cauldron at the Olympic Games in her home country, where she has come to symbolise a new, multicultural future for Japan.
However, as is frequently the case, all of this has come at a cost that fans have grown all too acquainted with in recent years: an enormous amount of pressure to perform, which can be stressful for anybody of any age.