When Naomi Osaka lost her third-round match at the US Open to eventual finalist Leylah Fernandez on September 3, there was the player departing from the court, and there was the person departing from the press room.

The former may have been troubling to her fans to watch—the two-time US Open champion failed to serve out a straight-set win before losing, 5-7, 7-6, 6-4—but the latter was downright painful for anyone to see.

Osaka, whose relationship with the media and mental health has been chronicled in great detail throughout 2021, eventually became emotional after a question about Fernandez's lefty serve:


Did you feel maybe her serve you were having trouble reading or the situation? Was it something completely internal and not based in that?

From there, Osaka began to answer before giving way to tears, and a rather stunning admission:


NAOMI OSAKA: I don't think it was her serve because I've been able to return pretty well against people that served better. I don't think it's the occasion because I've been in this situation before.

I know that -- I guess we're all dealing with some stuff, but I know that I'm dealing with some stuff, so...

(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, definitely I would love to carry on that mindset. Hmm... I'm going to say what we said, I think, like, in the hallway. How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently, like, when I win I don't feel happy. I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don't think that's normal. I didn't really want to cry, but basically I feel like... (Tearing up.)

THE MODERATOR: Gentlemen, we're done.

NAOMI OSAKA: I kind of want to finish this. I'm sorry.


NAOMI OSAKA: Basically I feel like -- okay. Hmm, this is very hard to articulate. Basically I feel like I'm kind of at this point where I'm trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don't know when I'm going to play my next tennis match (tearing up). Sorry.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, everyone.

NAOMI OSAKA: Okay, yeah. I think I'm going to take a break from playing for a while.

Thus, her withdrawal from the upcoming BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Wednesday should not come as much of a surprise:


More to come on this developing story.