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Naomi Osaka wins her first Wimbledon tennis match in 6 years

Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts after winning a point against Diane Parry of France during their first round match of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Monday, July 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth
/
AP
Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts after winning a point against Diane Parry of France during their first round match of the Wimbledon tennis championships in London, Monday, July 1, 2024. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Naomi Osaka won her first Wimbledon match in six years Monday, defeating French player Diane Parry.

Osaka scored a 6-1, 1-6, 6-4 victory, winning the final two games of the third set.

“It felt really fun and really stressful at the same time … the match I think was a little up and down, but I think overall it was something that I can take a lot away from,” she said at a press conference following the match.

Osaka has been vocal about her struggles on grass courts, and is working to develop a more positive outlook, as she typically can be a “downer” on herself, she said.

In 2021, the Japanese native took a short hiatus from the sport after pulling out of the French Open for mental health reasons and losing the U.S. Open.

She later went on a longer break after becoming pregnant with her daughter Shai, who Osaka said turns 1 on Tuesday. Osaka decided not to play the Eastbourne International tournament last week because she was throwing her daughter’s birthday party, she said.

“I think my mindset last year was just trying to survive,” she said. “I honestly didn't know what was going on after I gave birth, but yeah, just trying to piece myself back together.”

She added, “It feels really, really cool. I feel myself constantly being surprised by things on the ground and it’s just really nice to win a match.”

Osaka will next play American Emma Navarro in the second round of the tournament. Navarro will represent the U.S. at this summer's Paris Olympic Games, as will Coco Gauff, who also was a Monday winner at Wimbledon.

Copyright 2024 NPR

Ayana Archie
[Copyright 2024 NPR]