Osaka feeling the 'itch' to play again

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Four-times grand slam champion Naomi Osaka looks set to return to tennis shortly after getting "that itch" to play again.

Osaka said at the US Open earlier this month that she would take a break from the game to concentrate on her mental health following a shock third-round defeat by Canadian runner-up Leylah Fernandez.

The former world No.1, who pulled out of next month's WTA event at in Indian Wells, has struggled for form since she withdrew from the French Open in May following a row with tournament officials over required media appearances, which she said had a negative impact on her.

"You know, I've been playing tennis since I was three years old," the 23-year-old said on HBO's 'The Shop'.

"For sure I love the sport, I know I'm going to play again, probably soon because I kind of have that itch again.

"But it wouldn't really matter to me if I won or lost.

"I'd just have the joy of being back on the court."

Japanese star Osaka, who has slipped to seventh in the world rankings, said tough matches had begun to take their toll on her and she needed the break to refresh.

"I used to love the competition and just being competitive. If I were to play a long match, the longer it was the more fun it was for me," she said.

"Then I just started to feel - recently - the longer it was the more stressed out I became. But I just needed a break to go within myself."

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