Osaka in tears after epic Swiatek defeat but admits: 'I've felt worse'

Agence France-Presse
Osaka in tears after epic Swiatek defeat but admits: 'I've felt worse'
Poland's Iga Swiatek (left) cheers up Japan's Naomi Osaka after winning their women's singles match on Court Philippe-Chatrier on day four of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros Complex in Paris on May 29, 2024.
Dimitar Diloff / AFP

PARIS – Naomi Osaka said she wept after Wednesday's epic French Open defeat to Iga Swiatek (Thursday Manila time) but insisted: "I've felt worse".

The Japanese superstar led 5-2 in the final set of a pulsating second round clash and even had a match point.

But defending champion Swiatek rallied impressively to record a 7-6 (7/1), 1-6, 7-5 win, which kept her on course for a fourth title in Paris and fifth Grand Slam crown.

Former World No. 1 Osaka, now ranked 134, was appearing at only a second Grand Slam since giving birth to her daughter last July.

"It was the most fun match I have ever played, the atmosphere was incredible, it was very memorable for me," said the 26-year-old.

"I've felt worse, that's for sure."

Despite the defeat, Osaka said she can only take positives from the match, which extended close to three hours and where she unleashed 54 blistering winners.

"I cried when I came off court but then I thought of how last year I was watching Iga win the French Open while I was pregnant," said Osaka after a match in which she won more points, had 17 more winners and more service breaks — five to three.

"My dream then was to come and play against her, so when I think of that I try not to be too hard on myself.

"I'm just here for the vibes. I'm a hard court kid; I'd like to play her on a hard court."

Osaka, who has never got past the third round in Paris, came into the tournament with a lot of clay court tennis under her belt.

She reached the last 16 in Rome, knocking out top 20 players Marta Kostyuk and Daria Kasatkina on the way.

"I feel like I'm playing better because I have worked on specific things," she added.

"But the results are not resulting!"

Osaka said she also took comfort in her personal journal which she updated immediately after the match.

"I wrote 'I'm proud of you'. To say that to myself gives me power."

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