One endearing thing about Naomi Osaka is that she seems to actually digest and carefully respond to the questions asked of her in press. Where many athletes are ready to spit out some prepackaged platitude—which, in fairness, is about the level of thought that most post-game queries deserve, in any sport—Osaka always seems to be sussing out what she really thinks. If she doesn’t know the answer, she’ll say so.
The world No. 2, who enjoyed a five-month stretch at the top of the world before ceding that honor to Ashleigh Barty last week, lost in the first round of Wimbledon today to world No. 39 Yulia Putintseva in straight sets. Osaka was somber in her press conference, and even more so as the questions continued.
“I wouldn’t blame my age on anything,” Osaka said. “I’ve done a lot of good things, and I’ve done a lot of bad things, but I’m not the type of person that would say because I’m young I can get away with doing certain things.”
Quotes like that might give you a sense of Osaka’s frame of mind right after the loss, her earliest exit from a major since the 2017 French Open. Then, during a question about how she grapples with her newfound stardom, Osaka abruptly said, “Can I go? ‘Cause I feel like I’m about to cry.” She got up and left. And look at that—now you’re sad too.