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Rory McIlroy admits he can relate to Naomi Osaka’s mental health battle

Rory McIlroy has agreed with Naomi Osaka’s decision take a break from tennis. The grand slam champion crashed out of the US Open in the third round to teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez.

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Rory McIlroy shares his sympathy for Naomi Osaka following her decision to take a break from tennis.

The 23-year-old made the decision following her shock third round loss to Canadian teenager Leylah Annie Fernandez in the third round of the US Open.

The Northern Irishman says he understands what the Japanese athlete is going through, admitting there have been periods where he has not enjoyed playing golf.

McIlory agrees with her decision to take a break from the game and understands the challenges that come with performing at the highest level.

“I’ve tried really hard and I spoke about this quite a lot in 2019 about separating who I am as a golfer and who I am as a person and trying to not let that define me, and it seems what Naomi is going through at the minute is that same thing,” the golfer said after his final round at the Tour Championship.



Rory McIlroy sympathises with Naomi Osaka following her decision to take a break from tennis
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“How can I play tennis and enjoy it and not let the results define who I am? I think that’s what she’s going through right now and I think everyone just needs to let her have time to figure that out.

“She seems like a really smart girl, and hopefully she’ll be able to do it and come back and start enjoying the game just like when she picked the racket up when she was a little girl.”









He added: “Doing it as a job or for a living, that’s when the joy goes out of it and that’s when you lose your innocence.

“There’s a part of that that goes the further along you get in this professional career, and the more you can hold onto that joy and innocence of remembering the reason why you picked up a golf club and why you picked up a tennis racket, that’s the important thing.”



Naomi Osaka lost in the third round to teenager Leylah Fernandez at the US Open
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Following her 5-7, 6-7 (2), 6-4 defeat, an emotional Osaka wrote: “I feel like I’m kind of at this point where I’m trying to figure out what I want to do, and I honestly don’t know when I’m going to play my next tennis match. Sorry.

“I think I’m going to take a break from playing for a while.

“How do I go around saying this? I feel like for me recently when I win, I don’t feel happy. I feel more like a relief.

“And then when I lose, I feel very sad. I don’t think that’s normal. I didn’t really want to cry.”



Osaka is unsure when she will return to the court
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It has been an intense year for Osaka, who began 2021 by winning the Australian Open for a second time.

The multi-time grand slam champion took a break from tennis following her withdrawal from the French Open earlier this year to prioritise her mental health.

She returned at her home Olympics in Tokyo and lit the Olympic flame at the opening ceremony, but was unable to win a medal after losing in the third round to Russia’s Markéta Vondroušová.

We wish Naomi all the best and look forward to seeing her back on court and enjoying her tennis.




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