Naomi Osaka Inspired By Kobe Bryant And On Course To Becoming An Icon Herself - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka Inspired By Kobe Bryant And On Course To Becoming An Icon Herself

The tennis star has proven that she can have a impact on the world in other ways besides playing tennis.

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Naomi Osaka 3 (@usopen on Twitter)

After lifting her third Grand Slam title at the age of 22 in New York Naomi Osaka’s first photo wasn’t just about her, it was about the NBA icon who inspires her.

 

Holding the Flushing Meadows trophy, Osaka was wearing the number eight L.A Lakers jersey in a tribute to Kobe Bryant. The former Basketball star who tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash earlier this year along with his 13-year-old daughter. The caption with the photo Osaka posted on Twitter read ‘I wore this jersey every day after my matches. I truly think it gave me strength. Always.’

Following Bryant’s death, Osaka described him as her ‘mentor and big brother.’ The two had known each other on a personal level and had met multiple times. In August 2019 Bryant hailed the three-time grand slam champion after saying it is ‘very rare to find an athlete at that age to be so trusting of her skill.’

‘I feel like at this point there are certain things that I do that I hope can make him proud,” Osaka said during her press conference.
“It’s, like, keeping his legacy alive for me. I think it’s amazing how one person can inspire so many people. Everyone has a really great story about him just being kind, spreading warmth.”

Bryant was one of the world’s most famous NBA players throughout the past two decades and achieved a series of accolades. Including being named the 2008 NBA Most Valuable Player and two-time NBA Finals MVP. A two-time Olympic gold medallist, he was also selected to play in 18 All Star Games.

Osaka herself has also been inspiring many throughout her US Open campaign with her vocal support for social justice. At the start of each match she would enter wearing a mask bearing a different name of somebody who had been a victim of racial profiling. In the final she had the name Tamir Rice, who was a 12-year-old black boy killed by police in 2014. Osaka says the objective of her mask-wearing was to inspire others to look into the names of those victims and learn more.

“I feel like for me I learn more through experiences. Everyone sort of thinks they know, or I actually don’t want to know how they’re feeling or how they felt during the process. For me, I feel like sharing stories and hearing people’s experiences is very valuable,” she said.

The drive to speak so openly about social justice is also a matter close to the hearts of those close to Osaka, who has a Japanese mother and Haitian father but grew up in America.

“I’ve read a lot into Haitian history. My dad always talks about that,” said Osaka.
“For me, my boyfriend’s really like into reading a lot, so he’s been passing me books.
“I try not to get most of my information from the news. I try to form my own opinion, sort of.”

The activism of the 22-year-old has earned her praise from around the world, as well as former tennis greats. Billie Jean King, who is one the founder of the WTA Tour that campaigned for equal prize money, says Osaka is on course to become of the all-time greats when it comes to athlete activists.

“It has been more than 50 years since athletes like Muhammad Ali, John Carlos and Tommie Smith and the Original 9 of women’s tennis all stood up and used their sport, their voices and their actions to change humanity,” Reuters quotes King as saying.
“The baton has been passed and Naomi has accepted it.”

Osaka is the first Asian player in history to have won three singles Grand Slam titles.

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Father Of Dayana Yastremska Reveals The Reasons Behind Her Lacklustre Season

Alexander Yastremsky says his daughter was ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to a personal issue.

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Rising star Dayana Yastremska struggled on the Tour during the second half of 2020 due to a family-related issue, according to her father.

 

The world No.29 closed out her season with three consecutive first round losses at the French Open, Ostrava and Linz to players who were ranked lower than her. Yastremska looked to be on course for a strong year after reaching the final of the Adelaide International in January. However, since then she has only managed to reach the quarter-final stage in one out of 10 tournaments played.

Reflecting on his daughter’s difficult season during an interview with Ukrainian Tennis, Alexander Yastremsky says she had been ‘mentally broken’ in recent weeks due to her mother having a series of surgeries on her eye.

“People were complaining like why Dayana had such poor results at Roland Garros and afterwards but they didn’t know it was a hard time for her mother,” he said.
“Before the first round she had a retinal detachment. She went through three surgeries in Paris and two more at home. Everything is fine now but at that time Dayana was broken mentally.”

Besides her mother’s health scare, Yastremska had to find a new structure in her team after the departure of Sasha Bajin following the US Open. Bajin, who is the former coach of Naomi Osaka, worked with her for less than a year. Last week it was confirmed that he will be working with Karolina Pliskova in the new year.

“Sascha Bajin is a good coach, very helpful but it turned out he wasn’t ours,” said Alexander. “I don’t look at this partnership as a mistake for Dayana, it was another experience for her but I don’t see any advantages either.”
“Everyone looks only at how good you play and what result you get.”

Prior to Bajin, Yastremska worked with Belgium’s Olivier Jeunehomme who guided her to three WTA titles between 2018-2019. Since his departure, she is yet to add to her title tally but did rise to a ranking high of 21st earlier this year.

“It’s not easy to work with Dayana she has a tough personality,” her father admits. “Relationships on and off the court are very important for her.
“Right now we have a new team, very positive and committed . That’s the key for us. There’s no need to brag about their achievements. Results will come and time will tell. Our focus is on the off-season and hard work.”

Yastremska has started her off-season in Dubai. She ends the year with a win-loss record of 15-12 and has made just over $486,000 in prize money.

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Karolina Pliskova hires Sascha Bajin as new coach

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Former world number 1 player Karolina Pliskova has hired German coach Sasha Bajin for the upcoming 2021 season. The Czech player has split up with Daniel Vallverdu. 

 

Under the guidance of Vallverdu Pliskova has not won a single title in 2020 but she reached her second final at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome, the tournament she won in 2019 beating Johanna Konta. This year she was forced to withdraw from the Rome final against Simona Halep due to an injury problem. 

Pliskova successfully defended her 2019 title in Brisbane and lost to Anastasya Pavlyuchenkova in the third round of the Australian Open and was defeated by Elena Rybakina in the quarter finals in Dubai. She lost to Ons Jabeur in Doha. In her first tournament after the suspension due to the pandemic Pliskova was beaten by Veronika Kudemertova in the second round at the Western and Southern Open in New York. At the US Open Karolina was knocked out by Caroline Garcia in the second round. 

The Czech star lost in the first round in Ostrava after winning the first set. 

Bajin parted his ways with Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska in 2020. The Ukrainian player was not happy after Bajin praised Naomi Osaka, who beat Yastremska at the US Open. 

Pliskova introduced her new coaching team to her fans on Twitter. 

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WTA will change the names of tournament categories

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The WTA will change the names of its tournament categories to be in line with ATP, according to Spanish sports newspaper Marca. 

 

The Premier Mandatory tournaments (Indian Wells, Miami, Madrid and Beijing) and Premier 5 tournaments (Doha, Rome, Rogers Cup in Canada, Cincinnati and Wuhan) will shift to 1000s. Premier tournaments will be renamed 500 tournaments under the new system. International events will change to 250 events. $125Ks will be renamed as 125-events. 

Points given to the winners might not be the same as the event level unlike the ATP tournaments. The WTA currently awards 1000 points, 900 points and 470 points.The WTA tournament in Madrid will extend by three days. It will be a 11-day event. 

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