Naomi Osaka speaks about court struggles

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World Number 2, Naomi Osaka

Two-time grand slam champion Naomi Osaka has said she hasn’t enjoyed playing tennis, since winning the Australian Open in January.

The former World Number 1 made the admission in a post uploaded on to her social media account. Earlier this year the 21-year-old became the first ever Asian player to top the world rankings as she experienced a surge in popularity.

Something introverted Osaka has struggled to adjust to.

Since her triumph in Australia, Osaka hasn’t reached another final on the WTA Tour. Winning a total of 13 matches in nine tournaments played.

A disappointing grass-court swing saw her win only one match as she lost in the first round at Wimbledon. Her earliest exit from a grand slam since the 2017 French Open.

“Whenever things go wrong, I blame myself 100%, I have a tendency to shut down because I don’t want to burden anyone with my thoughts or problems,” Osaka wrote about her dip in form.

Now ‘relearning’ how to have fun on the court, the world No.2 has praised the support she has received. She is currently coached on the tour by Jermaine Jenkins, who was once a hitting partner to Venus Williams.

“Unexpectedly, (through) the worst months of my life have also had some of the best moments cause I’ve met new people.” she explained.

“That being said I can honestly reflect and say I probably haven’t had fun playing tennis since Australia and I’m finally coming to terms with that while relearning that fun feeling.”

“I’ve learned a lot about myself and I feel like I grew so much as a person this past year(s) so I’m really excited what the future looks like on and off the court,” she added.

Osaka will be hoping to turn around her difficulties during the US Open swing. A crucial period of the season for her. She has a total of 2032 ranking points to defend, which is more than any other player in the world’s top 10.

Almost half of those points will be at the US Open, where she defeated Serena Williams in the final last year.

The first test for Osaka will be next week at the Rogers Cup in Toronto, Canada. She will be the second seed in what will be her first tournament since Wimbledon.

 

Chidi Nwoke.