BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 18: Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates victory in her first round match against Maria Sakkari of Greece during day two of the Nature Valley Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club on June 18, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA)
Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 18: Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates victory in her first round match against Maria Sakkari of Greece during day two of the Nature Valley Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club on June 18, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. (Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images for LTA)
Now playing
04:18
Naomi Osaka looks to take on Wimbledon
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21:  Patrick McEnroe of the United States plays a forehand in his Men's Legends match with and John McEnroe of the United States against Henri Leconte of France and Todd Woodbridge of Australia during day eight of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Scott Barbour/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 21: Patrick McEnroe of the United States plays a forehand in his Men's Legends match with and John McEnroe of the United States against Henri Leconte of France and Todd Woodbridge of Australia during day eight of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 21, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Now playing
05:08
Osaka withdrawal news was like 'a punch to the gut,' says Patrick McEnroe
Naomi Osaka of Japan poses with the trophy after beating Australia's Ashleigh Barty in the final of the China Open in Beijing.
NOEL CELIS/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Naomi Osaka of Japan poses with the trophy after beating Australia's Ashleigh Barty in the final of the China Open in Beijing.
Now playing
03:11
Time Out: Naomi Osaka draws and tries to come out of her shell
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 21: Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup as he celebrates victory in his Men's Singles Final match against Daniil Medvedev of Russia  during day 14 of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 21, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 21: Novak Djokovic of Serbia holds the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup as he celebrates victory in his Men's Singles Final match against Daniil Medvedev of Russia during day 14 of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 21, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:44
Novak Djokovic is the no. 1 of number ones
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 14: Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei celebrates victory in her Women's Singles fourth round match against Marketa Vondrousova of Czech Republic during day seven of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 14, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Matt King/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 14: Su-Wei Hsieh of Chinese Taipei celebrates victory in her Women's Singles fourth round match against Marketa Vondrousova of Czech Republic during day seven of the 2021 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 14, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:20
Hsieh Su-Wei: Taiwanese tennis star reflects on memorable Australian Open
Serena Williams w/ daughter Olympia
@SerenaWilliams
Serena Williams w/ daughter Olympia
Now playing
00:43
Tennis legend's daughter joins her on the court
Spectators walk into Melbourne Park ahead of the first round matches at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Andy Brownbill/AP
Spectators walk into Melbourne Park ahead of the first round matches at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021.(AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Now playing
02:09
Australian Open: Amid pandemic, grand slam begins with 30,000 fans attending
Naomi Osaka, 22, wears a mask bearing the name of Tamir Rice as she walks on court for the final of the US Open on September 12, 2020.
Al Bello/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
Naomi Osaka, 22, wears a mask bearing the name of Tamir Rice as she walks on court for the final of the US Open on September 12, 2020.
Now playing
02:49
Naomi Osaka on raising awareness for racial injustice with her masks
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 31: Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts during a practice session at Melbourne Park on January 31, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne Park is now out of lockdown mode following the end of the player and support staff quarantine period after arriving in Melbourne on International flights and they can resume a regular practice schedule ahead of lead in tournaments before the 2021 Australian Open. (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)
Jack Thomas/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 31: Nick Kyrgios of Australia reacts during a practice session at Melbourne Park on January 31, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. Melbourne Park is now out of lockdown mode following the end of the player and support staff quarantine period after arriving in Melbourne on International flights and they can resume a regular practice schedule ahead of lead in tournaments before the 2021 Australian Open. (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)
Now playing
04:06
Nick Kyrgios finds another reason to love tennis
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 05: General view on court 10 at Melbourne Park on February 05, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. All matches yesterday were cancelled due to the amount of players and staff that had to undergo Covid19 Tests and Isolation as a result of a Coronavirus community case announced on Wednesday night. Play resumes at Melbourne Park in the lead up to the 2021 Australian Open. (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)
Jack Thomas/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 05: General view on court 10 at Melbourne Park on February 05, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. All matches yesterday were cancelled due to the amount of players and staff that had to undergo Covid19 Tests and Isolation as a result of a Coronavirus community case announced on Wednesday night. Play resumes at Melbourne Park in the lead up to the 2021 Australian Open. (Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:12
Australian Open: With pandemic match-prep done, players are set for the grand slam
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 01:  Sofia Kenin of the United States poses with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup after her Women's Singles Final match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain> on day thirteen of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 01, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 01: Sofia Kenin of the United States poses with the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup after her Women's Singles Final match against Garbine Muguruza of Spain> on day thirteen of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on February 01, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Now playing
03:06
Sofia Kenin: 2020 Australian Open champion opens up
Now playing
14:25
Rafael Nadal calls for 'wider perspective' from players ahead of Australian Open
nick kyrgios covid-19 coronavirus australia us open abierto estadounidense tenis deportes cnne vo_00000024.jpg
nick kyrgios covid-19 coronavirus australia us open abierto estadounidense tenis deportes cnne vo_00000024.jpg
Now playing
03:08
Nick Kyrgios embraces role as moral voice on Covid-19
Vasek Pospisil of Canada hits a return against Richard Gasquet of France during the semi-final match of the ATP 250 Sofia Open tennis tournament in Sofia on November 13, 2020. (Photo by NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV / AFP) (Photo by NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP via Getty Images)
NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Vasek Pospisil of Canada hits a return against Richard Gasquet of France during the semi-final match of the ATP 250 Sofia Open tennis tournament in Sofia on November 13, 2020. (Photo by NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV / AFP) (Photo by NIKOLAY DOYCHINOV/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
04:37
Australian Open: Vasek Pospisil on the hard quarantine for players
An unidentified tennis player exercises in her hotel room in Melbourne in January 17, 2021, where players are quarantining for two weeks ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
WILLIAM WEST/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
An unidentified tennis player exercises in her hotel room in Melbourne in January 17, 2021, where players are quarantining for two weeks ahead of the Australian Open tennis tournament. (Photo by William WEST / AFP) (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
03:32
Australian Open: Controversy surrounds tournament as players complain of lack of practice
Michael Dodge/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
Now playing
05:30
Patrick Mouratoglou on Serena Williams, the men's game and the future of tennis
CNN —  

The air is thin at the top of the world and it seems Naomi Osaka is struggling to breath following her meteoric rise to the peak of tennis.

The 21-year-old world No. 2 crashed out of Wimbledon in the first round Monday and later cut her news conference short when asked about the difficulties adjusting to life as a new global superstar.

Osaka turned to the moderator and whispered: “Can I leave? I feel like I’m about to cry.” The moderator stepped in, and that was that. Osaka left.

The Japanese star’s back-to-back victories in the US Open and Australian Open propelled her to world No. 1 and drew comparison with 23-time grand slam champion Serena Williams. Osaka’s multicultural heritage – her mother is Japanese, her father is from Haiti – has also made her the face of a new, more outward-looking Japan.

READ: Naomi Osaka: An icon of the new Japan

READ: Naomi Osaka can at least 10 majors, Li Na says

READ: Why Osaka could be the next Serena Williams

03:07 - Source: CNN
Rise of Naomi Osaka

But the added burden of responsibility, expectation and demands on her time appear to have weighed heavily on Osaka, who parted with her coach Sascha Baijin soon after the Australian Open.

Osaka went out in the French Open’s third round, lost her world No. 1 ranking to Ash Barty of Australia, and despite no real previous form on the grass of Wimbledon, suffered a shock her exit to world No. 39 Yulia Putintseva in London.

When asked how she will pick herself up and restore confidence, she told reporters: “I don’t know. There are answers to questions that you guys ask that I still haven’t figured out yet.”

Role model

In an exclusive pre-Wimbledon interview with CNN Sport, Osaka was asked what her dreams are in tennis. Alongside winning all four grand slams, she said: “My dream kind of changes every so often.

“For now my dream is to be the best I can be and to have fun, but at the same time try to inspire as many people as I can because I think the world revolves on role models and I kind of want kids to play tennis and want to play me in the future.”

Osaka’s role model growing up was older sister Mari – now also a professional tennis player – and she credits her sibling with her rise to the top of the game.

“If she [Mari] wasn’t there I wouldn’t be where I am right now,” Osaka told CNN Sport. “Growing up there was always the two of us and I would always get inspired by her and she would constantly beat me, so that was kind of a very big motivation for me.

“It took 12 years to beat her – it was probably one of the biggest moments of my career. She beat me probably more than 1,000 times over my childhood, so it’s definitely one of the biggest things. I went home to my mom and I was bragging.”

READ: 15-year-old Coco Gauff stuns Venus Williams

READ: Coco Gauff: ‘I want to be the greatest’

02:54 - Source: CNN
Naomi Osaka: Tennis' next Serena Williams?

Emulating Ohno

The Osaka family moved from Japan to New York when Naomi was three, but the tennis star identifies as Japanese and says she feels “very honored” to be seen as an icon of a modern, more multicultural Japan.

“There was a speed skater (double Olympic champion) Apolo Ohno, I knew he was half Japanese, half American and he was super amazing,” she said.

“I kind of looked up to him. He was one of the first high-profile sports people that was half Japanese. I think to be in the role he is now, and people be telling me that [that she is the face of Japan’s multiculturalism] is something I’ve always dreamed about.”

Osaka comes across as quiet and shy in interviews, a far cry from the powerful, aggressive dynamic player that has surged to the top of the game.

“When I play tennis it’s something I’m 100% confident about, it’s something I grew up playing,” she said. “I kind of know what I’m doing as opposed to real life where I’m not so sure most of the time.”

She says she tried to become more “professional” in the wake of increased media attention following her double grand slam titles, but she admits it didn’t sit right with her character.

“I feel like I’m extremely different to everyone else in the way I do interviews, so I was trying to be a bit more professional but I feel like everyone knows I’m acting strangely and not normal so now I’m back to normal,” she said. “It was a bit tiring trying to monitor everything I was saying.”

01:40 - Source: CNN
Wimbledon: The original grand slam

READ: Why Wimbledon is braced for a blockbuster year

READ: Roger Federer: The power and presence of $120 million man

Her mantra has always been to have fun, and she fell back on that to explain how she might recover from her latest setback.

“I mean, the key for me was just learning how to have fun, kind of taking pressure off myself,” she told reporters at Wimbledon. “I hope I can somehow find a way to do that.”