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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Naomi Osaka highlights No.1 purpose & makes shock Coco Gauff revelation after IW loss

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© Getty Photographs Sport – Clive Brunskill

Naomi Osaka has made it completely clear that her tennis return is pushed by the willpower to win extra Grand Slams but in addition provides that for now she considers success simply competing effectively and doing her very best every time she is taking part in. 

When Osaka prematurely ended her 2022 season in September of that 12 months, there have been considerations about the place the Japanese’s profession was going contemplating that she wasn’t taking part in a lot on the time and that she was struggling together with her motivation. After Osaka introduced her being pregnant in 2023 January and it grew to become clear that she would additionally not play any match final 12 months, many questioned how that will influence the Japanese’s mindset. 

However being away from tennis for an prolonged interval really did wonders for four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, who regained her motivation and keenness for the sport throughout her 16-month break. 

Whereas Osaka has main post-pregnancy objectives, she is simply 5-5 since returning and hasn’t gone previous the quarterfinal stage. On Monday, Osaka – now ranked at No. 287 on the planet – misplaced to Elise Mertens 5-7 4-6 within the Indian Wells third spherical. 

Later in her press convention, Osaka was requested what can be a definition of success for her now. 

“Truthfully, I am probably not chasing the No. 1 spot proper now. Like, that is such a, if I may get there in, like, three years or, I do not even know what is going on to occur in that point, however that was by no means actually the explanation I got here again,” Osaka mentioned.

“I wished to win extra slams. That is why I got here again. However I feel I decide success proper now simply by the hassle that I put in, and I really feel like at present I do not suppose I performed effectively in any respect, however I attempted each level…  I can stroll off the courtroom realizing that, though I am unhappy concerning the loss, I do know that I attempted each attainable option to get again within the match. I suppose that is how I decide success proper now.”

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Photographs Sport – Clive Brunskill


Osaka on chasing Grand Slams at this stage of her profession

When Osaka grew to become a Grand Slam champion on the 2018 US Open, she was simply 20. Within the subsequent three and a half years, Osaka received three extra Grand Slams – her fourth Slam win on the 2021 Australian Open got here simply three months after her twenty third birthday. 

Osaka, now 26 years outdated, admits that there’s a totally different feeling to chasing Grand Slams now in comparison with earlier in her profession.

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“I really feel like it’s fully totally different, like, as a result of you recognize that you have achieved it, so that you’re desperately making an attempt to do it once more. I feel after I was youthful and I have never, like, achieved, I suppose, something, it was all the time, like, a marvel or a chance, and I wasn’t too onerous on myself, as a result of I used to be all the time simply reaching the third spherical in slams anyhow (smiling),” Osaka defined.

“Yeah, it’s fairly totally different from now, as a result of I really feel like I ought to have the ability to get to that degree. Clearly — effectively, not clearly, however I really feel like I’ve achieved it as soon as earlier than, so I ought to have the ability to do it once more.”

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Photographs Sport – Darrian Traynor


Osaka ‘didn’t know’ she may face Coco Gauff 

Had Osaka defeated Mertens and clinched three consecutive wins for the primary time since beginning her post-pregnancy comeback, she would have arrange an Indian Wells round-of-16 assembly towards 2023 US Open champion Gauff. 

After third-seeded Gauff defeated Lucia Bronzetti earlier on Monday, many have been rooting for Osaka to get the job achieved and clinch a Gauff assembly. However Osaka did not handle to beat Mertens, and after shedding to the Belgian, she offered a bit stunning reply when requested if realizing she may face Gauff subsequent impacted her. 

“Effectively, I did not know that, so no,” Osaka mentioned.

“Yeah. Wow, that is a shock. It was actually, although, you know the way, like, the underside half, the highest half, everybody performs. I used to be, like, oh, it will be cool to play Sabalenka, however I do not ever have a look at the draw.  So no, I wasn’t paying consideration. I used to be simply making an attempt to give attention to the match at present.”

Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff
Naomi Osaka and Coco Gauff© Getty Photographs Sport – Carmen Mandato


Regardless of Osaka’s Indian Wells run ending a bit sooner than she would have liked, it was nonetheless a great and promising match for the Japanese. 

Now, the previous world No. 1 will flip her give attention to the upcoming WTA 1000 match in Miami, which begins on March nineteenth. In 2022, the Japanese made her first Miami closing – wherein she was bounced in straight units by Iga Swiatek. 

Osaka hasn’t made any finals since and it will likely be fascinating to see how she does in her Miami return this 12 months.

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