Naomi Osaka, the left-wing activist and former tennis champion who renounced her American citizenship to represent Japan at the Tokyo Olympics, lost her first-round match at the U.S. Open on Tuesday.
Florida native Danielle Collins defeated the two-time U.S. Open winner 7-6 (5), 6-3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium. "I feel like I just have to chill a little bit because there's a lot of like random chaos in my head right now," Osaka said after the match. "I don't know if it's a matter of practicing more or something like that. I just don't have the same feeling."
It was the second time this year Osaka has lost to a proud American in the first round of a major tournament. New Jersey native Amanda Anisimova beat Osaka 7-5, 6-4 in the first round of the French Open in May, two months after knocking her out in the third round of the Australian Open. Osaka told reporters after the French Open loss that she didn't know if she would be "motivated" enough to take part in the Wimbledon tournament the following month. (She wouldn't be.)
Osaka, a prominent social justice activist, is best known for withdrawing from the 2021 French Open and being fined $15,000 for refusing to take questions from reporters, citing "self-care" reasons. Many journalists cheered Osaka's suggestion that interacting with journalists was a mental health hazard.
The 24-year-old earned more than $57 million in 2021, the vast majority of which came from endorsement deals with companies such as Nike, Louis Vuitton, and Beats by Dre. She also partnered with NFL legend Tom Brady to release a collection of NFTs. Earlier this year, Osaka accepted a lucrative endorsement contract from a cryptocurrency firm, arguing that the financial arrangement would help combat "inequality."
Osaka, who has lived and trained in the United States since she was three years old, renounced her American citizenship in 2019 to play for Japan at the Tokyo Olympics. Collins, by contrast, is a proud American who has represented her country in international competitions and isn't afraid to honor and celebrate the Fourth of July.
Congrats, Danielle! You made your country proud!