US Open champion Naomi Osaka said she was rethinking her appearance at the Sydney International after admitting to another bout of the sulks in her upset loss to Lesia Tsurenko in the semi-finals of the Brisbane International on Saturday.
The second seed, who famously defeated Serena Williams amid dramatic scenes in New York last year, was a heavy favourite to progress past the unseeded Ukrainian but moped her way to a 6-2, 6-4 defeat, with world No.27 Tsurenko playing the far more positive tennis.
She later confessed to having the ''worst attitude'', which would not have surprised anyone who watched the contest. She has tasted grand slam success at just 21 but has a reputation as a noted frontrunner who struggles when she needs to dig her way out of trouble.
Even when she was rattling off aces to stay in the contest, Osaka looked like she would have rather been anywhere else but Pat Rafter Arena, while Tsurenko now finds herself in her biggest career final, where she was due to meet either fifth seed Karolina Pliskova or Donna Vekic.
"Like if I'm being really frank, I just feel like I had like the worst attitude today. I feel like I didn't really know how to cope with not playing well," a candid Osaka said.
"I was sulking a little bit and like there are moments that I tried not to do that. But then the ball wouldn't go in, and then I would go back to being like childish and stuff. So I think that
was sort of my main problem."
It's not the first time Osaka has had issues with her attitude on the court and despite extensive work with coach Sascha Bajin, it has raised its head again just weeks before the Australian Open. Osaka was due to play in Sydney but she was now unsure whether that would be her next move.
"I feel like last year I did a lot of that [sulking] and I'm trying to change it more. I think I have, like
towards the end of last year. So hopefully this isn't a re-occurring thing."
Osaka doesn't have much of a poker face on the court. She admitted she rarely enjoyed watching herself play because she could see her body language deteriorate when things weren't to her liking.
"I do notice that my attitude is down and I know that people don't like to watch people that are so negative," she said. "And that's sort of my main thing, too.
"So there are two paths that I can take. Usually, one is to hit everything. And then another one is to run everything down. And usually I pick the hitting part first and then the running later and I think I need to switch that around."
There was better news for Japanese fans when second seed Kei Nishikori eased past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-2, 6-2 to earn a spot in Sunday's men's final, where he meets the winner of the match between Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Daniil Medvedev.