Naomi Osaka Explains Reason Behind Split With Coach - UBITENNIS
Connect with us

Latest news

Naomi Osaka Explains Reason Behind Split With Coach

Japan’s top player is set to return to action for the first time in over two months.

Published

on

NAOMI OSAKA OF JAPAN - PHOTO: ALVARO DIAZ / MMO

Four-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka says her decision to part ways with her coach was because she wanted a ‘different energy.’ 

The former world No.1 announced earlier this month that she has split with Wim Fissette after working with him since 2019. Under his guidance, Osaka won the 2020 US Open and 2021 Australian Open. However, in recent months she has endured a roller-coaster journey on the Tour and has taken time away from the sport due to mental health issues. 

Speaking to reporters on Monday at the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose, Osaka paid tribute to her former mentor. Fissette has worked with a series of top players on the WTA Tour, including Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka, Simon Halep and Angelique Kerber. 

He’s an amazing coach and we didn’t part on bad terms,” said Osaka. “I felt like I needed a different energy. He’s an ambitious guy and I’m sure he would have wanted to go to Wimbledon, so it was kind of like two different mind-sets.”

For the foreseeable future, Osaka has turned to a familiar face to help her – her father Leonard Francois who is acting as her main coach. Leonard was Osaka’s principal coach early on in her career until 2018.

He makes me think outside the box. Whenever I think something is really bad, he makes me realize things are much more positive than they seem,” she said of her father. “When I’m stressed out, he starts dancing to make me feel better. So, it’s nice to have him around and to remember the times when I was a kid.”

This week will be the first time Osaka has played on the Tour since suffering a first round defeat at the French Open on May 23rd. She opted to miss this year’s Wimbledon, which didn’t offer any ranking points, due to a leg injury. 

It was in San Jose where Osaka played and won her first Tour match. In 2014 she came through qualifying before upsetting Sam Stosur in the first round. That triumph occurred when the tournament was held at Stanford University.

Eight years on from that milestone, the 24-year-old says the most important thing for her now is to enjoy the sport. 

“I just would like to have fun and I know I say that very often, basically every tournament for the last year now, but to genuinely have fun,” wtatennis.com quoted Osaka as saying. “I was telling my dad literally this morning when we were practising in the rain, years ago we would have to fight to practice on public courts. It was just me and my sister and my dad alone. 
“Now I’ve gotten to the point where people pay to watch me play, and for that I am very grateful. I would have never imagined that as a child. Just having fun and being grateful in the moment and trying to engage with everyone to the best of my abilities.”

Osaka will play China’s Zheng Qinwen in the first round. 

Latest news

Maria Sakkari Appoints Witt As Coach For American Swing

Published

on

Maria Sakkari - WTA Washington 2023 (foto Twitter @mubadalacitidc)

Maria Sakkari has enlisted the help of Jessica Pegula’s former long-time coach in a bid to regain her form on the Tour. 

Greek media has confirmed that the world No.9 has begun a partnership with David Witt, who has also previously coached Venus Williams. Witt had worked with Pegula since 2019 before the tennis star decided to end their collaboration earlier this year. During their time together he oversaw the American win two WTA 1000 events, reached the quarter-final of a grand Slam on six occasions and peaked at a ranking high of No.3. 

Sakkari’s appointment comes after she ended her six-year working relationship with Tom Hill. Highlights of their partnership include winning two Tour titles, reaching a Grand Slam semi-final twice and spending more than two years in the top 10. 

“Tom, thank you for all the emotions, the support on and off the court, and the belief you had in me since day one,” Sakkari wrote on Instagram last month. “We grew together, and you helped me realize that everything is possible.

“Not only did you make me a better tennis player, but you also made me a better person. Thank you for always wanting the best for me and for always having my back! Good luck on the next chapter in your career.”

Sakkari is looking to get back on track after what has been a disappointing start to 2024. She had won just two matches in her first four singles tournaments played and is yet to face an opponent ranked in the world’s top 20. However, she faired better at the United Cup, where she won three matches in the team event, including victories over Lelylah Fernandez and Angelique Kerber. 

It is understood that Sakkari will be working with Witt at both Indian Wells and Miami. If their partnership is successful, it could be extended further into the clay swing. The other members of her team will remain in the same roles. 

Continue Reading

Latest news

Ugo Humbert saves three match points to beat Hubert Hurkacz in Dubai

Published

on

Fifth-seed Ugo Humbert came back from one set down to beat Hubert Hurkacz 3-6 7-6 (10-8) 6-3. Humbert had beaten Hurkacz en route to his title in Marseille. 

Hurkacz converted his third break point in the fourth game to win the first set 6-3. Humbert saved three match points in the tie-break of the second set before converting his first set point to force the match to the decider. Humbert broke twice to seal the third set 6-3. 

“It was a great battle. I tried to battle for every point. In the tie-break I saved three match points, tried to do my best and thanks to those French fans for the amazing support”, said Humbert. 

Humbert set up a semifinal match against Danil Medvedev, who beats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-2 6-3. Humbert leads 2-1 in their head-to-head matches, but Medvedev won their most recent match in three sets at the China Open in their most recent head-to-head match in Beijing last year.

“It’s going to be a great challenge against Danil tomorrow. We had a few great fights. Hopefully I will recover well to be ready for this match”, said Humbert. 

Aleksander Bublik was leading Jiri Lehecka 6-4 4-1 when the Czech player was forced to retire due to an injury. Bublik set up a match against Andrey Rublev, who was leading Sebastian Korda 6-4 4-3  when the Czech player withdrew due to injury. 

Continue Reading

ATP

Brazilian Rising Star Joao Fonseca Waives College Eligibility To Turn Pro

Published

on

Image via https://twitter.com/RioOpenOficial/

One of Brazil’s most promising young tennis players has made the bold decision to abandon a dream of his to play college tennis in America to turn pro. 

17-year-old Jaoao Fonseca was committed to playing college tennis at the University of Virginia but says professional tennis has called him in a way he couldn’t refuse. The rising star has played just two Tour-level events so far in his career and is currently ranked 343rd in the world. 

At last week’s Rio Open, he became the second-youngest player after Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals of an ATP 500 event since the category was introduced. In his home tournament, the Brazillian beat Arthur Fils and Cristian Garin before losing to Mariano Navone.

“It was an incredibly tough decision for me and my family as I have been dreaming about living a college life in Charlottesville, playing the sport that l love with a wonderful team and coach, but, in the last months, professional tennis called me in a way that I simply couldn’t say no,” Fonseca wrote in a statement published on Instagram
“Although I will not be attending school, I think it is an extremely valuable and viable path for young players in their way to professional careers,” he added.

Fonseca has already enjoyed success on the junior circuit. Last year he was runner-up in the doubles tournament at the Australian Open boy’s event. Then at the US Open, he won his first Grand Slam junior title in singles. He is also a former ITF Junior World No.1 and is currently ranked second in the standings. 

The youngster has already been hailed by compatriot Beatriz Haddad Maia, who is currently ranked 13th on the WTA Tour. Speaking to reporters at the San Diego Open, she has offered her support to Fonseca if he needs it. 

“João is a nice person. He has a great future, if he keeps working hard and keeps doing what he’s doing. I think he has a very aggressive mentality and tennis.” She said.

“We sometimes text each other, but not that much. But I’m always following.. not only him.. but the Brazilians. I’m proud of what he’s doing. He has a long way and he needs to understand that it’s a marathon, it’s not a 100 meter race.’
“Tennis has its ups and downs. I wish him all the best, for sure. I’ll be here whenever he wants. I’m happy with what he’s doing.” 

Fonseca played at the Chile Open this week but lost in the first round to Thiago Agustin Tirante.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending