Round 1 of the 2022 Melbourne Summer Series is underway, with storylines already unfolding for Tennis’ finest.
Naomi Osaka, who took a 4-month hiatus following her 3rd round US Open defeat, returned, beating France’s Alize Cornet in contested 6-4, 3-6, and 6-3 sets. Osaka publicly expressed the weight of expectations she had endured leading up to her loss and hiatus in September. Following her victory, the 24-year old took to the press to discuss her outlook on the game. Osaka stated, win or lose:
“I only really have one major goal this year – I want to feel like every time I step on the court I’m having fun,” she said.
“I’m the type of person that cared a little bit too much about the results and the ranking and stuff like that. And I just need to find a way to enjoy the game again because that’s the reason why I was playing in the first place.”
With the former Grand Slam winner getting her groove back, it may spell new successes for the star, set to compete with Belgium’s Maryna Zanevska in the round of 16 tomorrow.
On the men’s side, tough times are ahead for another fellow Grand Slam winner. Andy Murray, a favorite in the tournament, was beaten by world number 76 Facundo Bagnis in the first round of the Melbourne Summer Series.
In a frustrating display, the Briton lost in 6-3 5-7 6-3 sets. The 34-year old seemed primed for a long run in the tourney, having last competed up until the finals of the Abu Dhabi exhibition.
Instead, Murray will have to look onto next week’s Sydney Tennis Classic, as later on, he will compete as a wildcard in the Australian Open.