Naomi Osaka Roland Garros 2019

‘I’m not a clay expert!’ – Naomi Osaka studying Rafael Nadal videos to learn best clay techniques

As the clay court season draws ever-nearer, Naomi Osaka revealed that she will watch and study video clips of Rafael Nadal as she is “still a student and has to keep learning.”

After enduring a challenging Indian Wells Masters where she was heckled and dumped out in the second round, four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka put the unnerving events behind her to enjoy a successful end to her ‘Sunshine Double.’

Despite dropping down to 77th in the WTA world rankings, an unseeded Osaka breezed her way to the Miami Open final, dropping just one set in the process. As such, she became the lowest ranked WTA Miami Open finalist ever.

She also overcame some tough opponents in three-time Grand Slam ace Angelique Kerber, Australian Open finalist Danielle Collins and Olympic gold Medallist Belinda Bencic.

Osaka has previously struggled on clay courts having failed to progress past the third round of the French Open on all three attempts.

Despite not being proficient on clay, Osaka remained determined to prove herself on the red dirt ahead of the upcoming clay-court season.

She revealed that she will be travelling to Europe a week early and will be watching and studying video clips of Nadal to learn from the Spanish legend.

Speaking after losing her Miami Open final loss to World number one Iga Swiatek, Osaka said “I’m going to watch a lot of Nadal videos to see how he moves.

“I just think that knowing I’m still a student and I have to keep learning, clay and grass is something I really want to tackle this year. So I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get good results. Not that results are everything, but I really want to do well.

When asked about her chances of success, Osaka remained realistic but resolute, saying “I’m not really so sure. I’m clearly not a clay expert, but I feel like if I get my movement together, I should be pretty good.

“I grew up on green clay, being from here [Florida], so it shouldn’t be that foreign to me.

“And I know, [at the] Madrid [Masters], Sabalenka won that last year, so I think that there is opportunities for me to do well, as well. I think I just have to get my mentality together to know that every match would be a fight.”

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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.