With the U.S. Open set to begin on Monday, defending women’s champion Naomi Osaka will once again be the focus of attention.
Osaka will be making her first Grand Slam appearance since she withdrew from the French Open after her first-round match and skipped Wimbledon for mental health reasons.
Osaka, the U.S. Open’s No. 3 seed, has been outspoken about her difficulty dealing with the media, briefly stepping away from a news conference at a tournament in Cincinnati earlier this month after she broke down in tears answering a question.
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However, she seems to be in a better frame of mind on the eve of the season’s final major tournament.
In an introspective social media post Sunday, Osaka admitted she can be too critical of herself.
“I’ve never told myself that I’ve done a good job but I do know I constantly tell myself that I suck or I could do better,” she wrote. “I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m gonna try to celebrate myself and my accomplishments more, I think we all should.”
Osaka has plenty to celebrate. She’s ranked third in the world in women’s tennis behind the U.S. Open’s top seed, Ashleigh Barty. She has won four Grand Slam singles titles — the 2018 and 2020 U.S. Open and the 2019 and 2021 Australian Open. And she’s the first woman since Monica Seles to win her first four Grand Slam singles finals.
“Your life is your own and you shouldn’t value yourself on other people’s standards,” Osaka continued. “I know I give my heart to everything I can and if that’s not good enough for some then my apologies but I can’t burden myself with those expectations anymore. Seeing everything that’s going on in the world I feel like if I wake up in the morning that’s a win.”
Osaka begins her U.S. Open title defense in the opening night match in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday, facing Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US Open: Naomi Osaka offers uplifting message before defending title