Naomi Osaka is the teen tennis star returning to courts after whirlwind arrest and a year of silence

At 16, Naomi Osaka stunned the tennis world to become the youngest woman to reach the quarterfinals at the French Open in 2018, but struggled to shake the fans’ attention away from her recent arrest for driving under the influence. In July, Osaka was pulled over in Florida for texting while driving and later entered a plea of no contest. During the 2016 U.S. Open, which she missed after her arrest, the teenager was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) after writing a letter to her coach and announcing she wanted to quit the sport.

Her success at the French Open, after which she turned pro, went unnoticed by the media, which was too busy obsessing over what she had done right in her win over the 18-year-old Venus Williams.

Fast forward a year and the teenage superstar has again retreated from the limelight, this time for unknown reasons, raising further questions about the extent to which she is prioritizing her mother’s wishes for her to focus on education and her tennis career, while staying “out of trouble” outside of the court.

On the eve of this year’s French Open, Osaka withdrew from her scheduled match, becoming the first player to withdraw from the tournament for at least 20 years, and saying that she had suffered a “bad dream” during a warmup match. She later spoke to the media, confessing that her withdrawal was an effort to be away from the limelight and admitted that she has “known things that I have done wrong and I’ve decided to stop doing them,” adding, “I have certain things that I would like to do and certain things that I want to achieve that I’m going to need to just put them to the side because I don’t want to draw attention to them.” She also promised to keep playing this year, insisting that all she is doing is learning from her mistakes.

Despite her recent pledge to focus on school and her tennis career, Osaka recently made headlines when French Open officials banned her from an event honoring grand slam champions. Osaka claimed in a tweet that she was dropped from the event because she has yet to receive proper work authorization from the French Tennis Federation. She also suggested that she believes officials were miffed that she had won the French Open this year and that the timing of her withdrawal from the event could have been part of a larger agenda, claiming the tournament was upset that “it happened a week before President’s Day.”

She also indirectly hinted at the April police arrest when she tweeted, “I want to have a social life and live a normal life, just be a normal teenager.”

Naomi Osaka must be the youngest person to ever miss an award ceremony bc she hasn’t actually received her work permit. A tad hectic — Willis Russell (@willis_russell) May 25, 2017

Read the full story at Yahoo Sports.


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