Former 18-time Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova has warned 25-year-old Naomi Osaka that time is "running out" for her to return to her old form. Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam champion, having won two Australian Open and US Open titles.
Osaka's last Grand Slam title came at the 2021 Australian Open, when she defeated Jennifer Brady in the final. Since then, Osaka hasn't won any titles, let alone Grand Slam titles. But also, Osaka hasn't really played that since her 2021 Australian Open triumph.
At the 2021 French Open, Osaka went public with her story about battling anxiety and depression. Since then, Osaka has had two breaks to address her mental health as this year she appeared in just 11 tournaments.
Navratilova on the Osaka situation
“What is going on with her? Is she not playing at all? Maybe it was too much too soon.
But, you know, that is when the gut check comes; do you really love the sport? It comes back to that. For six years, I did it all myself. Nowadays, so much is done for the players, because there is so much more attention, and everything is magnified.
At the same time, people forget about it. So you are a flash in the pan. I think the players need to just stay in the moment, and if they love the sport, great. If they don’t, that’s okay, too. But figure it out [and] make up your mind because time is running out," Navratilova said, per Essentially Sports.
In a recent interview, Osaka admitted she wasn't ready for what followed after her first Grand Slam victory. In the 2018 US Open final, Osaka upset her idol Serena Williams to win her first Grand Slam title. Osaka was then thrown into the spotlight and everybody was talking about her and her future.
"For me, it all started here, however many years ago when I won my first Slam. But I wasn't really prepared for everything that happened after that. I don't think anything in the world could. I grew up very, I don't wanna say sheltered but I knew five people.
Suddenly there's all of these new people and I'm like damn what they say really matters because I grew up like my parents, my sisters and my family members. Their words hold a lot of weight. So I'm just like all of these people and their words must hold a lot of weight as well.
So it took me a really long time to realize that I can put power in what people are saying. It doesn't mean anything to me then what they saying becomes immediately irrelevant and that's kind of where I am right now," Osaka said.