Naomi Osaka Talks Olympic Hangover, Lack Of Match Play After Shock Loss In Cincinnati - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka Talks Olympic Hangover, Lack Of Match Play After Shock Loss In Cincinnati

The world No.2 reacts to her surprise defeat and outlines what she needs to work on in the coming days.



Naomi Osaka (image via

Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka says her recent performance at the Tokyo Olympic Games partly played on her mind as she crashed out of the Western and Southern Open on Thursday.

The world No.2 fell 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, to Switzerland’s Jill Teichmann who is ranked more than 70 places below her in the rankings. This week is only the second tournament Osaka has played in since returning to the Tour following a break due to mental health reasons.

Reacting to her loss to Teichmann, Osaka admits she was perhaps too defensive in her play as the match progressed. It is the first time she has been defeated by a player ranked outside the top 70 since February 2020 when she lost to Sara Sorribes Tormo in the Billie Jean King Cup.

I thought she played really well. I thought in the first set I was doing everything I was supposed to do, and then in the second set and also in the third set I felt like I was a bit too defensive maybe,” Osaka reflected.
“I also thought that my performance in Tokyo was also lingering in my mind a bit, because I felt like I was overly aggressive there.’
“I felt like I learned a lot from this match and I felt that, if anything to take away from this, I tried my best throughout the entire match.”

It is the second tournament in a row where Osaka has failed to reach the quarter-finals. At the Olympics, she fell in the third round to Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets. Although it was the first event she had played in almost two months.

The recent lack of match play has clearly hindered the 23-year-old who is confident that her game is heading in the right direction going into the US Open. It is not just the physical side of her game that is slightly rusty, it is also her tactical approach.

I feel like an execution issue would be because of not playing matches. I thought that I felt a bit hesitant, and normally I don’t feel that way,” she explains.
“Of course I put myself in this position by choosing not to play that many tournaments.’
“I feel like there were times where I was doubting myself. For me, I feel like it’s important to remind myself what my strengths are, and I think I did that well in the first set. Then in the second set, I felt like maybe I played a bit more to her (Teichmann’s) rhythm, and also in the third set, as well.”

There are also positives for the Japanese player who says she is growing in maturity on the court. Even if there are still outbursts of frustration during matches which she admits she shouldn’t be doing.

“I think I took a step in the right direction because I was able to process things with my team after I lost. I honestly haven’t been able to do that for the last couple of matches, so I think in that way, I have gotten a little bit mature,” she said.
“I know I had a little outburst on the court (in round three), which I’m not that proud of, but hopefully I can keep learning from it.”

As to what’s next, Osaka is pondering the possibility of getting a last-minute wild card to play in one of the two WTA 250 events taking place next week. However, she says there is ‘not a high percentage’ that she is going to do this. Instead, she is more likely to focus on her title defence at the US Open which begins a week Monday.

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Emma Raducanu Confident Of Full Fitness Ahead Of Grass Swing



Emma Raducanu - Cincinnati 2022 (foto Twitter @cincytennis)

Emma Raducanu has no regrets about her decision to skip the French Open and now believes she is in a ‘really fit place’ ahead of Wimbledon. 

The former US Open champion opted to end her clay season earlier than other players to focus on fitness and training with her coach. Raducanu stated earlier this year that her primary focus in 2024 is on her health after undergoing a series of wrist and ankle surgeries last year which sidelined her for months. 

Raducanu will return to action this week at the Nottingham Open, which is the event where she made her WTA main draw debut back in 2021. Despite her lack of match play in recent weeks, the Brit is feeling good and relishing her return to the grass.

“Body-wise, physical-wise, I feel really healthy,” she said on Monday.
“I’ve done amazing work with my trainer over the last few months, since surgery. I’m in a really fit place. I’m healthy and just looking forward to starting playing.”

Shedding more light on her health, Raducanu says she has full confidence in her wrists and believes they are in top condition. Making her feel more at ease when playing matches on the Tour. 

“I think my wrists are actually in a better position than they ever were. So there’s zero doubt or apprehension whether I’m hitting the ball or designing my schedule,” she explained.
“It’s more about being proactive and not wanting to put yourself in any unnecessary situations. I don’t need to rush and try to win the French Open, it wasn’t my goal this year.
“I had to prioritise where I wanted to target and it was just a good block for me to get some physical work done.”

Raducanu has played seven WTA events so far this season with her best run being to the quarter-finals of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, where she was beaten by world No.1 Iga Swiatek. The 21-year-old is currently ranked 209th in the world. 

At the Nottingham Open, she will play her first match on Tuesday against Japanese qualifier Ena Shibahara. 

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two



Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Russian World No.78 Elina Avanesyan To Switch Nationalities



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A week after losing her fourth round match at the French Open, a government minister has confirmed that Elina Avanesyan is in the process of changing the nationality of who she plays for. 

The 21-year-old is switching her aligence from Russia to Armenia, according to Armenia’s deputy Minister of International Affairs and communication. Karen Giloyan has told the news agency Armenpress that Avanesyan will soon be representing his country. However, the tennis player has yet to comment on the matter.  Avanesyan was born in Russia but has Armenian parents.

“Elina Avanesyan will compete under the Armenian flag, but there is nothing official yet. We are waiting for her to get the citizenship of the Republic of Armenia so that everything will be official,” Giloyan told Armenpress.

Such a development would be a massive coup for the Armenian tennis federation which currently doesn’t have a player ranked inside the top 500 on either the men’s or women’s Tour. The country has a population of less than 3M. Perhaps their best-known player is Sargis Sargsian who reached the top 40 back in 2004. Others on the Tour also have Armenian heritage but don’t represent the country such as Karen Khachanov.  

Avanesyan is currently ranked 78th in the world, which is 18 places below her career high. This season, she has scored high-profile wins over Maria Sakkari at the Australian Open, Ons Jabeur in Charleston and Qinwen Zhang at the French Open. 

She has yet to play in the final of a WTA tournament.

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