Naomi Osaka lost to the Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez in the 3rd round of the US Open tennis tournament 2 days ago.
It’s New York. It’s the end of summer. It’s a major. They all combine to make for gripping atmosphere at an epic event. This year is providing some great tennis and exciting storylines. Teenagers are knocking out seeded players on a daily basis. For example Carlos Alacraz of Spain handed Stefanos Tsitsipas an early exit. With Federer, Nadal and Thiem not playing, #3 seedTsitsipas no doubt saw himself in the semi finals at the least. Not anymore.
Fernandez frustrated Osaka to the point of getting a warning for throwing her racket 3 times.
By nature Osaka prefers not to be the centre of attention but her outstanding play puts her in the limelight.
Actually she has an aversion to attention, social anxiety. It is proving to be more powerful than her ability to focus on successful professional tennis and everything that brings. Specifically the media spotlight. That spotlight , thanks to non stop social media, is as pervasive as it is superficial.
Is it because of the attention? Or the lack of privacy? Or not winning sometimes? Or parenting?
Does it matter?
Naomi Osaka has a life. We are not invited. She has a career like you and me. Her career requires post match interviews which in her case are stress inducing. She makes fabulous money. I’d love that money. But the impact of her professional life on her personal life appears to be too much. This spillover of the professional life onto the personal life happens to millions of people a year. So it is probably happening to someone, somewhere right now. And again now.
Naomi Osaka is not the answer to our dreams. We are the answer. Let her go.
I love seeing the thrilling underdogs, the awesome performances, the inspiring comebacks just like anyone else.
The more we live our dreams and goals the less we put our lack of self realization onto others. Be they our spouse, children, or some random athlete.
Put down the phone. Get out there. Reveal the new you. Make new friends. Breathe. Forgive. Focus.