Naomi Osaka Says Confidence Key To Comeback Bid - UBITENNIS
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Naomi Osaka Says Confidence Key To Comeback Bid

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MUTUA MADRID OPEN 2022 WTA NAOMI OSAKA OF JAPAN - PHOTO: ALVARO DIAZ / MMO

Naomi Osaka believes regaining self-belief in her game will be critical in her return to professional tennis. 

 

The four-time Grand Slam champion began her comeback to the sport following maternity leave at the start of the year in Australia. So far, Osaka has played three tournaments and won just one out of four matches played. Her sole victory was against Tamara Korpatsch in the first round of the Brisbane International before losing to Karolina Pliskova. She has also suffered losses to Caroline Garcia at the Australian Open and Danielle Collins in Dubai. 

“I’m feeling pretty good about myself which is a bit strange because I think I had less confidence in my last tournament,” Osaka said during an interview with Sky Tennis. 
“It’s nice to be back and see everyone.”

Currently in the early stages of her return, Osaka is ranked 757th in the world but is using her protected ranking and wild cards to play in tournaments. As part of her return, minor adjustments have been made to her game. However, the mental side of the sport will also play a crucial role in her bid to return to the top of women’s tennis. 

“I was changing my return a little bit so it was tough to play a match and not feel comfortable with what you’re doing. You kind of want to revert to your old style.” She explained.
“I think for me the biggest thing is being confident in myself and knowing that I don’t have to go for winners when I don’t need to and trusting myself a lot more.”

Still only 26, the Japanese player has won seven WTA titles, held the No.1 ranking for 25 weeks and earned more than $21m in prize money. She is hoping to add more silverware to her collection in the future with her daughter motivating her. Osaka has decided to not travel on the Tour with her child, who was born in July 2023. 

Guiding her on the Tour is coach Wim Fissette whom she had previously worked with. Fissette is the former mentor of Australian Open finalist Qinwen Zheng and reportedly stopped their collaboration last year to coach Osaka once again. 

“I don’t open up that easily so to have someone around that I’m comfortable with and already understands me is something that saves a lot of time.” She said. 
“Also sometimes I don’t need to talk to him for him to understand what I’m thinking.”

Osaka’s next test will be at the Doha Open. In the first round, she has a rematch against France’s Garcia but has played down the suggestion that their recent clash would help her in any way. 

“I don’t really tweak my game for other people. I’m not necessarily the type of person who needs a lot of background information on someone. Knowing the pace of her ball and having that awareness going in the match is good but she probably feels the same.” Osaka concluded. 

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REPORT: Daniil Medvedev Recruits Former Rival To Team

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A French media source has reported that Daniil Medvedev is expanding his team with the appointment of a part-time consultant whom he used to play against on the Tour. 

 

We Love Tennis has claimed that Gilles Simon will join Medvedev for 10 weeks of the season with his first tournament said to be at Indian Wells next month. It is reported that Simon’s role will be an advisory position and it will have no impact on Medvedev’s current coaching partnership with Gilles Cervara. 

There is yet to be any official confirmation about the new partnership. Simon is a former world No.6 tennis player who won 14 ATP titles before retiring in 2022. He played against Medvedev four times on Tour and won three of those meetings. The only occasion he lost to the Russian was at the 2022 Libema Open. 

Medvedev’s rumoured appointment comes a month after his heartbreaking loss in the final of the Australian Open to Jannik Sinner. He was leading the final by two sets before losing in five. Medvedev endured a brutal journey in Melbourne Park with four out of the seven matches he played going the full distance. 

“I’m really going to try to make everything possible with myself, with my mind, for this loss to not affect my future tournaments and future seasons, because that’s part of sports.” He said after playing against Sinner. 

The world No.4 was scheduled to return to action this week at the Doha Open in Qatar but has pulled out of the ATP 250 event due to a foot injury. His next tournament will be the Dubai Tennis Championships where he is the defending champion. 

Medvedev has won 20 ATP trophies so far in his career and has spent 16 weeks as world No.1. He has earned more than $39M in prize money. 

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Holger Rune Reunites With Mouratoglou In Latest Coaching Twist

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The shake-up of Holger Rune’s team continues with the Danish tennis star reappointing his former coach. 

 

Patrick Mouratoglou has returned to Rune’s camp following the recent departures of Boris Becker and Roger Federer’s former mentor Severin Luthi. Both of whom only worked with Rune for a very short period. The development comes less than six months after the world No.7 ended his collaboration with Mouratoglou following his loss in the first round of the US Open. 

Nevertheless, the two want to join forces once again. In a statement issued to the media on Wednesday, Rune said he has had some ‘really good talks’ with the Frenchman about their future work. Mouratoglou is a renowned coach who has worked with a series of top names such as Serena Williams, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Simona Halep. He also has his own academy in France. 

“I am really happy to resume working with Patrick. It is together with Patrick that I have celebrated some of the biggest victories in my career, and I am looking forward to us starting the hunt for more big titles together,” Rune said in a press release issued to TV2.dk.
“We have had some really good talks about how the collaboration should be going forward, and we have found a strong setup which creates the best conditions for optimal performance.”

Rune has experienced a mixed start to the season. Earlier this month at the Rotterdam Open, he was beaten by Kazkhstan’s Alexander Shevchenko in the second round. Making it the second tournament this year that he has failed to win back-to-back matches after the Australian Open. However, he reached the final of the Brisbane International and was a semi-finalist in Montpellier before retiring due to a minor injury issue. 

“It is no secret that I am determined to win Grand Slam tournaments and become number one in the world rankings. It requires the right coaching constellation and team around me.” He continued.
“Sometimes you have to try some things to find out what works – and what doesn’t. In recent months, I have learned more about what works best for me, and I believe that we have now put together a super strong team that can help me achieve my goals.”

Rune is one of only two players aged 20 or under currently in the ATP top 10. The other is world No.2 Carlos Alcaraz. So far in his career, he has won four ATP titles with his best Grand Slam results being runs to the quarter-finals of the French Open twice and Wimbledon once. 

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King Of Aces Ivo Karlovic Officially Retires From Tennis At 44

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Ivo Karlovic - Australian Open 2018 (foto Roberto Dell'Olivio)

Ivo Karlovic confirmed on Wednesday that his ‘unorthodox’ career as a tennis player has come to an end after not playing on the Tour since October 2021. 

 

The Croatian issued a statement on social media platform X announcing his official retirement from the sport at the age of 44. His last professional match was at the 2021 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells where he reached the second round of qualifying. His last Grand Slam appearance was at the US Open that year where he lost in the first round to Andrey Rublev. 

“Some of you have noticed that it’s been a while since I played a tournament and still ask me on a daily basis if and when I’ll be returning to the tour. I’m sorry to disappoint, but with this letter, I want to make it official and finally announce my retirement.” Karlovic wrote

Born in Zagreb, Karlovic won eight ATP titles and peaked at a ranking high of 14th in 2008. He reached the quarter-finals of Wimbledon in 2009 and then the following year reached the semi-finals of the doubles tournament at the US Open. Overall, he recorded 21 wins over top 10 players during his career.

“I’ve had a very gratifying, unorthodox and long career coming from extremely humble beginnings, especially for a tennis player. Croatia was a very different country in the 80s and 90s when I was growing up, and I’m very proud of my accomplishments and what I’ve been able to overcome,” he reflected. 
“I’d like to thank all the coaches and people who were involved in and contributed to my development as a tennis player. Without you this fortunate journey would not have been possible.
“My family provided tremendous support and I love them immensely. I’m looking forward to continuing to spend time with them doing things that are important to us and that fulfill us.”

Karlovic is best known for his blistering serve. On the ATP Tour, he produced a record 13,728 aces, playing 801 tiebreaks in 717 matches. According to the ATP official website, he holds ace records for matches played on ATP Tour (45), Australian Open (75), French Open (55), US Open (61) and Davis Cup (78).

Affectionately known by fans as ‘Dr Ivo,’ the Croat has hinted that he is not completely stepping away from tennis. 

“I will stay close to tennis and try to share my knowledge and all of the incredible experiences on tour with new generations of tennis players. The journey continues and the focus gets redirected. I am grateful.” He said.

Karlovic’s announcement comes almost 23 years after he made his ATP Tour debut in October 2001 at the Tashkent Open. 

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