Former world number one Naomi Osaka says she has gone through “more downs than ups” this year.

The 24-year-old from Japan has not gained a title since last year’s Australian Open and has been defeated within the first round of her previous three tournaments.

A four-time Grand Slam winner, she has dropped to forty eighth within the rankings going into this week’s Pan Pacific Open.

“This year has not been the best year for me but I’ve learned a lot about myself,” Osaka said.

“Life is ups and downs, and this year was more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now.”

Osaka is defending her title at the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, an occasion which returns after a three-year absence following the coronavirus pandemic.

In May 2021, Osaka pulled out of the French Open after revealing she had “suffered long bouts of depression” since successful her first Grand Slam title in 2018, and in September of that year she introduced she would take a break from the game.

Having withdrawn from Wimbledon with an Achilles injury and shedding within the first round of the French and US Opens, the third round of the Australian Open was the furthest point Osaka reached in a Grand Slam this year.

She said the autumn from the top of tennis was troublesome to take care of initially.

“It was kind of hard at first, just because I feel like I should be somewhere where I’m obviously currently not,” she said.

“I think for me it’s more about being at peace with myself. I know that I’m here for a reason.”

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