Just a few days into the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and two fan-favorite athletes are already out. Both Naomi Osaka and Simone Biles are currently not in competition. The tennis star lost in the third round and is permanently out, however, Biles may return to compete after a health evaluation.
According to ESPN, Osaka, who played for the host country Japan, lost to Markéta Vondroušová of the Czech Republic 6–1, 6–4 during the third round of the Olympic tennis tournament on Tuesday (July 27.) This is the first Olympic appearance for the 23-year-old athlete after her controversial withdrawal from the French Open after winning her first match, and subsequentially sitting out during Wimbledon due to mental health issues.
“I’m disappointed in every loss, but I feel like this one sucks more than the others,” she admitted. The sports news outlet reported Osaka, who’s previously refused to participate in post-match interviews, initially did not comment after her loss, then came back out and met with a small group of reporters. “I’ve taken long breaks before and I’ve managed to do well.”
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover star continued, “I’m not saying that I did bad right now, but I do know that my expectations were a lot higher.”
Vondroušová, 22, who dominated the match, shared kind words about her opponent’s skill and the amount of stress the 2020 Olympic games ushered onto the tennis player.
“It’s tough for her also playing in Japan and in the Olympics,” the 42nd-ranked Vondroušová said according to ESPN. “It’s so much pressure, I cannot imagine.”
She added, “The greatest in the game, and she was also the face of the Olympics, so it was tough for her, I think, to play like this.”
For Biles, her exit from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics may be temporary. On Tuesday (July 27) the highly skilled athlete withdrew from the gymnastics team finals for medical reasons.
“Simone has withdrawn from the team final competition due to a medical issue. She will be assessed daily to determine medical clearance for future competitions,” said USA Gymnastics in a statement.
— Team USA (@TeamUSA) July 27, 2021
Without Biles, who was replaced by Suni Lee, the USA Women’s Gymnastic Team won the silver medal. Russia took the coveted first-place gold medal and Great Britain came in third for the bronze. According to NBC New York before her exit, Biles was “uncharacteristically” off. Her coach informed the outlet “physically she is fine. But she is done for the night.”
“I just felt like it would be a little bit better to take a back seat; and work on my mindfulness,” she said afterward according to the Washington Post. “We’re going to see about Thursday. We’re going to take it a day at a time. I know tomorrow we have a little bit of a break for training, so that’ll be really nice to have a mental rest day. And then injury, no. Just my pride is hurt a little bit.”
The 24-year-old, who won four Olympic gold medals during her performance in the 2016 Rio Olympics, shared a message of support for her teammates as well.
“You guys go out there and do what you’ve trained to do. I’m sorry. I love you guys, but you’re going to do just fine. I love you. You guys have trained your whole entire lives for this. It’s fine,” she said according to NBC.
Ahead of the competition, Biles shared an Instagram post where she spoke of the pressure of the Olympics.
“it wasn’t an easy day or my best but I got through it. I truly do feel like I have the weight of the world on my shoulders at times. I know I brush it off and make it seem like pressure doesn’t affect me but damn sometimes it’s hard hahaha!” she wrote, adding, “The olympics is no joke!”