The Japanese Naomi Osaka, eliminated in the first round of the Abu Dhabi tournament on Tuesday, and released at the same stage at the Australian Open in January, assured that she could still "play very good tennis", after several months of absence. Osaka, down to 757th in the world after a 15-month break during which she gave birth to her first child, was dismissed Tuesday by American Danielle Collins in straight sets, 7-5, 6-0.
A defeat in the first round of the Emirati tournament which comes a few weeks after her elimination in Melbourne, beaten by the French Caroline Garcia, while she was making her return to the Grand Slam. “I'm less confident but not to the point of thinking that I can't play very good tennis,” said the main person concerned to AFP.
“Everyone around me tells me I'm playing well and I don't think I'm playing bad. I just have to believe in myself more and I think as soon as I got broken (against Collins, Editor's note), my confidence took a hit,” she admitted. Tuesday, the former world No.1, double winner in Melbourne and at the US Open, also lost in doubles, alongside the Tunisian Ons Jabeur, and will now seek to regain her sensations in Doha, for the Open du Qatar (February 11-17).
If this meeting - lost 6-3 6-3 against the duo Magda Linette/Bernarda Pera - still allowed her to overcome the disappointment of the singles match, she adds that she had "quite harsh words" towards herself, and having “felt a bit like a failure”. But she “doesn’t want to be too hard” on herself. If the meeting in Doha is checked, she clarified that she is not yet sure of her presence at the following tournament, in Dubai.
For her part, Danielle Collins, 30, who will meet No.1 seed Elena Rybakina in the next round, announced that she would retire at the end of the season. A decision fueled by the desire to live a life far from constant travel and daily routine on the circuit. “I needed an end date and this gives my family and friends the opportunity to come and support me during the last tournaments,” said the player from Florida.