Naomi Osaka reveals she ‘doesn’t regret anything’ despite first round Australian Open defeat
Naomi Osaka has returned to the Australian Open with a defeat, being beaten in straight sets by Caroline Garcia, but the four-time Grand Slam champion appears to be looking at the loss with perspective.
Osaka lost, 4-6 6(2)-7, to the 16th seed in her first Grand Slam match since giving birth to her daughter, Shai, only six months ago.
And the Japanese star was very mindful of this when speaking in press, “I have to tell myself ‘Hey, six months ago you were pregnant’, and of course, there’s a voice in my head [that says], ‘Who are you to think that you can come back and immediately start winning matches?’”
She continued, “But I always expect myself to stand a chance anyway. I guess being nicer to myself is a key thing that I learned in my time away, but it is really tough to play a good server and not make too many returns.
“These past couple of weeks, I’m very grateful for them. I have an amazing team and I’ve made a lot of different memories with them in Australia. Of course, I don’t regret anything.”
Osaka did win her first match of the season against Tamara Korpatsch at the WTA event in Brisbane, before losing in the second round to former No.1 Karolina Pliskova.
The 26-year-old revealed she has ‘learned a lot’ down under, “I’ve learned a lot during this trip both on and off the court. Also, I think I’ve played some really good people; it’s a little unfortunate.
“Maybe I could have played the United Cup or something where I’m not immediately out, but I have to see how the rest of my season goes. I’m a little sad because this outfit’s really cool and you won’t see it again!”
— wta (@WTA) January 15, 2024
Garcia hit a total of 34 winners in the match, including 13 aces, and Osaka believes that opponents raise their level against her, “I’ve always felt that [players bring their best form against me], but I also think that comes with the territory.
“[Coach] Wim [Fissette] always shows me his PowerPoint presentations about the opponent but when I get on the court, they hit harder and serve faster. I feel like they might have to. I always expect that, but it’s a little frustrating sometimes.”
Osaka has not played more than 30 matches in a season since 2019, but is planning a more full schedule for 2024, “Wim just talked to me about playing a lot more matches, so I’m not sure if he wants to add stuff, but I’m definitely thinking about playing Dubai, Indian Wells, Miami, Charleston, and then probably a full clay season.”
Inside the baseline…
It was not a bad performance from Naomi Osaka, but she came up against a very good Caroline Garcia in Melbourne. Currently ranked at No.831, Osaka needs as many matches as possible, even though the former No.1 will be able to receive as many wildcards as she wants! It is great to hear that she is planning to play a fuller schedule in 2024, especially on the clay where she is yet to find her feet.
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