The last time Naomi Osaka was on a court she was fuming with unhappiness, but during her Melbourne opener on Monday she often smiled and seemed relaxed in her rusty 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over Alize Cornet. Her four-month break from the sport to focus on her mental health has provided a new outlook for the 24-year-old.

Instead of fixating on results and rankings, this season will be about loving what she does and enjoying the ride. Following her first win of 2022, she shared her goals moving forward.

"I only really have one major goal this year, and it's completely unrelated to results and stuff like that," she told press. "I just want to feel like every time I step on the court... I'm having fun.

"I can walk off the court knowing that even if I lost, I tried as hard as I could. Also, I have a goal in the press room, that I'm never going to cry again, so hopefully that works out in my favor."


The world No. 13 admitted she thought she would sit out most of 2022, but thanks to her friends, family and immense love for the game she's back in action. It's something she's proud of.

"Honestly, it was much shorter than I anticipated. I actually really thought I wasn't going to play for most of this year. "I'm really happy with myself that I love the sport that much," she said.

Caring too much about the wins and losses led her to a miserable place both on and off the court. Osaka's top priority will continue to be her happiness and enjoying each match. According to Osaka, her love for the game never went away, but it was "overshadowed" by her emotions.

She will next take on Maryna Zanevska in her Australian Open warm-up event.