Naomi Osaka - Australian Open 2022 and Andy Murray - US Open 2023

Naomi Osaka reveals why she is grateful for ‘super friendly’ Andy Murray

Naomi Osaka has heaped praise on three-time Grand Slam winner Andy Murray, revealing that the Brit is often looking out for her during hard times.

Osaka is gearing up to play her first round match at Indian Wells, where the former No.1 was champion back in 2018.

And the Japanese star has been asked about the aforementioned Murray, who has recently announced that he is likely in the final months of his decorated career.

This is how Osaka responded to this question, “He’s always been super friendly to me coming up on the tour.  Whenever we bumped into each other, he’d say ‘hi’ because obviously, I am too shy to say ‘hi’. But I feel like he’s in a way always checking on me, like especially when all the hard stuff happens.”

Osaka has been very open about her mental health struggles over the years, resulting in the four-time major winner taking significant hiatuses away from the WTA Tour.

The 26-year-old recently returned to action in January after a 15-month break, following giving birth to her first child, Shai.

She had struggled for form in the first few tournaments back, winning only one of her first four matches this year.

But, Osaka made a breakthrough at the WTA 1000 event in Doha, reaching the quarter-finals and climbing nearly 500 ranking spots to No.287 in the world.

Osaka is hoping to continue this momentum on the American hard courts, beginning her campaign at Indian Wells against qualifier and former top 10 player Sara Errani later today.

Inside the baseline…

It is great to see Naomi Osaka back on tour, especially now after finding some form at the tournament in Doha. To hear the former No.1 speak about Andy Murray the way she did just shows what a lot of people thought already, with the Brit being a legend both on and off the court.

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Matthew Johns, Tennishead Writer, is a professional tennis journalist with a specialist degree in Sports Journalism. He's a keen tennis player having represented his local club and University plus he's also a qualified tennis coach. Matthew has a deep knowledge of tennis especially the ATP Tour and thrives on breaking big tennis news stories for Tennishead.