US Open 2019: Naomi Osaka says her knee injury is 'getting better' as she readies to defend her title

Naomi Osaka's participation in US Open was put in serious doubt last week when she retired from a quarter-final clash in Cincinnati where she felt pain around her left knee after coming down on her leg following her service motion.

Reuters August 24, 2019 16:06:53 IST
US Open 2019: Naomi Osaka says her knee injury is 'getting better' as she readies to defend her title
  • Naomi Osaka does not expect her knee injury to limit her performance in year’s final Grand Slam

  • She suffered the injury during her quarter-final clash in Cincinnati last week

  • Osaka will begin her New York campaign against Russian Anna Blinkova

New York: Naomi Osaka’s knee injury suffered in the lead-up to her US Open title defence has improved and the Japanese does not expect it to limit her performance in the year’s final Grand Slam.

The world number one’s participation in the major was put in serious doubt last week when she retired from a quarter-final clash in Cincinnati where she felt pain around her left knee after coming down on her leg following her service motion.

US Open 2019 Naomi Osaka says her knee injury is getting better as she readies to defend her title

Naomi Osaka begins her US Open campaign against Anna Blinkova. AP

“It’s getting better. Like, I have been playing more, like, longer every day. It’s feeling better,” Osaka, 21, said during a US Open Media Day inside Louis Armstrong Stadium. “Luckily I’m a fast healer, so I think it’s looking good.”

Osaka sought treatment and briefly returned to the court to play two more points but was broken to fall 2-0 behind in the third set against American Sofia Kenin before retiring.

But Osaka, who will begin her New York campaign against Russian Anna Blinkova, said she felt comfortable returning to the scene where she claimed her first career Grand Slam.

In March, Osaka arrived at Indian Wells for the first title defence of her career. She lost in the fourth round but said the experience of learning what “defending champion pressure” felt like should help her at Flushing Meadows.

“I just feel more loose and comfortable here,” said Osaka, who was born in Japan but raised in the United States.

“I’m not sure if it’s because the last couple of months have been kind of turbulent, but definitely I feel really comfortable and I know that, despite everything, I play well here every year. So I’m not too worried about that.”

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