Naomi Osaka says she felt “unappreciative” at points during the last year for being unable to value her success.

The world number two was speaking after beating American teenager Coco Gauff at the Cincinnati Open on Wednesday.

She also expressed her reasons for leaving the French Open in May, having said on the eve of that tournament that speaking to the media was harming her mental health.

“I wonder what got my attention that made me not want to do media?” she expressed.

“I’m wondering if I was scared due to sometimes I would see headlines of players losing and then the headline the next day would be like ‘a collapse’ or ‘they’re not that great anymore’.”

She stated: “The decision to go out there and play, to go see fans, the people that are coming out and watching you play, that itself is an achievement and I’m not certain when along the way I began desensitizing that.

“It began not being an achievement for me so I felt like I was very unthankful on that fact.”

The 23-year-old Japanese also pulled out of Wimbledon to take a break from tennis, having passed through anxiety and depression.

She went back to play at her home Olympics in Tokyo, where she lit the flame at the opening ceremony before going on to lose in the third round.

Cincinnati is her debut tournament since Tokyo and on Monday she became tearful at one point during her first news conference since the dispute over refusing to speak to media at Roland Garros.

On Wednesday she came from a set and a break down to win 17-year-old Gauff 4-6 6-3 6-4 in the second round.

Osaka thinks the Covid-19 pandemic might also have been a factor in her mental health problems and states recent world events have given her a new perspective.

“I think absolutely this whole Covid thing was really stressful with the bubbles and not seeing people and not having the interactions.

“But seeing the state of the world, how everything is in Haiti [her father’s homeland, which has been hit by an earthquake and tropical storm in recent days] and Afghanistan right now is absolutely very crazy, and for me to just be hitting a tennis ball in the United States right now and have people come and watch me play is… I would want to be myself in this predicament rather than anyone else in the world.”

Elsewhere, Britain’s Heather Watson was defeated in the second round by Australian world number one Ashleigh Barty.

Barty won 6-4 7-6 (7-3) and now meets defending champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the last 16.

Osaka will encounter Jill Teichmann for a spot in the quarter-finals.

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