Even though she hasn’t played tennis in about two months, Naomi Osaka hasn’t missed a beat.
On Sunday, tennis phenom handily won her first match with Team Japan at the Tokyo Olympics, beating China’s Saisai Zheng 6-1, 6-4. According to ESPN, Saisai is the 52nd-ranked women’s tennis player in the world, so it’s probably not too much of a surprise that the second-ranked Osaka came out on top.
However, it’s still exciting to see that Osaka not only feels refreshed after withdrawing from the French Open and Wimbledon to focus on her mental health, but also that she’s clearly not bothered by whatever Megyn Kelly and others have flexed their Twitter fingers to say in public attempts to criticize her.
Osaka stopped to talk with reporters after Sunday’s match, having said in Paris that she experiences “huge waves of anxiety” before meeting with the media and that she would be skipping news conferences.
“More than anything else, I’m just focused on playing tennis,” Osaka said. “The Olympics has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, so I feel like the break that I took was very needed. I feel definitely a little bit refreshed, and I’m happy again.”
Osaka’s next Olympic match will be against Switzerland’s Viktorija Golubic.
Meanwhile, in other Olympic news, Simone Biles came in second during the qualifying round for women’s gymnastics–which you and I both know is about as rare as a Beef Wellington these folks on Hell’s Kitchen try to get away with.
ESPN reports that Biles was penalized for stepping all the way off the mat after a tumbling pass during her floor exercise and during her vault. She then took three steps backwards after dismounting during the uneven bars, which U.S. high-performance director Tom Forster said he’s never seen her do before.
Despite this, Biles still came on top with the artistic individual all-around and advanced to the finals for various other events. Forster told ESPN that he’s not worried about the slow start that Team USA had during qualifiers.
“This was getting into the finals. So this might be a great awakening for us and we’ll take advantage of it.”
Lastly, the honor of Frédéric Weis has been avenged after Team USA’s men’s basketball team took an L against France. It’s the first time the United States has lost an Olympic men’s basketball game since 2004, according to CBS.
Ben Golliver of the Washington Post tweeted that France’s Evan Fournier said this about Team USA to reporters after the game:
“They are better individually, but they can be beaten as a team.”
YIKES. Probably a valid assessment, but it stings nonetheless. Team USA is still in the running for the gold in men’s basketball, though.