Stressed Osaka claims Roland Garros defeat could be 'the best thing'
A stressed Naomi Osaka conceded she crumbled under the weight of expectation at the French Open but claimed a third-round defeat to Katerina Siniakova was "the best thing that could've happened".
Osaka arrived at Roland Garros as world number one and the winner of the last two grand slams but departed seemingly a broken woman, with a stress-induced headache contributing to an error-strewn 6-4 6-2 defeat to the Czech.
Asked if nerves had played a part in a fairly miserable Paris experience, she said: "Yeah, I would say that, but at the same time I don't want to blame how I played on that.
"But, yeah, definitely I think this tournament I have had a feeling that was different to every other grand slam that I have played. I just feel like there has been a weight on me.
"Usually I find it very freeing and fun, and this time around I was kind of tense the entire time.
"Today I felt very tired. And the other matches too, I had this headache but I didn't feel tired.
"So I'm thinking the headache is just my stress. So it just kept staying because I don't really get sick like that."
Asked to expand on her emotions, the Japanese hinted at depression before backtracking.
She added: "I don't want to say I feel depressed, but I do. I think it's a natural part of life, especially if you train super hard for moments like these, and then you don't perform how you want to.
"I feel like saying that 'I'm depressed' is a very strong statement because I felt that way before, and it's not as extreme as that. So I would just say I'm very disappointed in how I played, and I wish I could have done better."
Defeat ends the chances of the only player who could have completed a Grand Slam in 2019 but Osaka displayed a rare moment of positivity heading into the grass-court season.
"You know, it's weird, but I think me losing is probably the best thing that could have happened," she said.
"I think I was overthinking this calendar slam. For me this is something that I have wanted to do forever, but I think I have to think that [if] it was that easy, everyone would have done it.
"I just have to keep training hard and put myself in a position again to do it hopefully."