LONDON—World No. 2 Naomi Osaka left mid-way through her press conference following a first-round exit at Wimbledon on Monday, becoming emotional as journalists questioned her following a 7-6 (4), 6-2 loss to Yulia Putintseva.
The 21-year-old Japanese did answer 10 questions but appeared reluctant to say much about the straight-sets defeat or her recent drop-off in form.
Asked if she was finding it difficult to adjust to fame, a slightly tearful Osaka turned to the moderator and asked if she could leave. "I feel like I'm about to cry," she said.
Osaka had just experienced her second defeat to Putintseva in almost as many weeks, having also been beaten by her at the grass-court event at Birmingham. Following that loss, Osaka chose not to come into press at all, a violation of tour rules.
Before leaving Monday's press conference, Osaka was asked if the unpredictable state of the women's tour made the defeat any easier.
"No. That makes me feel worse because now there's going to be more people that are saying exactly what you're saying. So, no, it doesn't make me feel better," she said.
She was also asked about her split with former coach Sasha Baijin, who helped her win two consecutive Grand Slam titles. Osaka parted ways with Baijin following her victory at the Australian Open in January, and has not won another tournament, and reached just one semifinal, since they stopped working together. Osaka said the decision was for "personal reasons,'' not pay issues.
"I don't think it's related at all," she said.
Osaka has vaulted into the spotlight since winning the 2018 US Open. She has signed several new sponsorship agreements, appeared on magazine covers, and recently been hit by a former coach's lawsuit.
Asked about recovering from previous slumps, she said, "I mean, the key for me was just, like, having fun, I guess, like learning how to have fun, kind of taking pressure off myself. I hope I can somehow find a way to do that."