By Ros Satar at the Nature Valley Classic, Birmingham
After her best clay court season, can Naomi Osaka translate that on to grass?
What life looked like after the French Open for the World No. 1
BIRMINGHAM, UK – World No. 1 Naomi Osaka has never advanced past the second round at Birmingham, but after her most successful year on clay, can she translate that to the grass?
-Latest player gear | Pro:Direct Tennis Shop-
Buy the latest gear from the top players from the Pro:Direct Tennis Shop and check out their 80% off sale on selected tennis equipment now on
Buy the latest gear from the top players from the Pro:Direct Tennis Shop and check out their range of Players’ kits.
Click to buy via Britwatch Sports
Still quirky in press but with perhaps a modicum more of confidence than the previous year, Naomi Osaka did her pre-match tournament press with the same hints of shyness we have always seen but could this be the year she makes more of a mark on the green stuff.
With two retirements here in just the three years she has competed, there is a bit to prove, on a surface that she freely admits challenges her, much in the way that she seemed to have a bit of a block over clay.
She said: “You know grass, I’m not really that comfortable with it. And it’s always the first tournament that’s the hardest. So, yeah, I have only practiced twice on grass because it was raining a lot. So, yeah, I guess I’m feeling as good as I can.
“It’s just really different to everything that I have ever played on because at least on clay… It’s similar to green clay which I kind of grew up playing, but grass, I have never, like, as a little kid, I have never played on grass so…”
The grass court season being so short, means that your final memory of last season will be the last match you lost, and last year there was a lot of anticipation that her third round clash with eventual champion Angelique Kerber was going to be a corker of a match – but it was not to be.
“It’s funny, whenever I come to grass I can only like remember the last match I played which is always Wimbledon and last year I played against Kerber and she kind of crushed me (smiling). So that is the thing that I remember the most.
“So I’m going to try and think about that match of course, but think about everything that I did, like sort of improved during the year.”
Osaka admitted that the pressure of getting a third straight slam had affected her in Paris, after battling past Maria Sakkari in her opening round.
“I think it kind of showed because I was kind of stressed out the entire time (smiling). So, for me, now, I’m just kind of having fun. I’m enjoying it. And I know that if I play well, then I’ll be No. 1. But you kind of have to deserve the spot that you’re in and if I lose in the first round, I don’t deserve to be No. 1. And that’s sort of what comes with the territory so I’m kind of chilling right now. I’m not trying to keep that in my mind.”
She will face another battle against Yulia Putintseva in the second round, to be played on Thursday.
-Viagogo Tennis Tickets-
Search Viagogo for tennis tickets for upcoming tournaments
We may receive compensation for products purchased via affiliate links on this website
Privacy & Cookies Policy
Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website. These cookies do not store any personal information.
Any cookies that may not be particularly necessary for the website to function and is used specifically to collect user personal data via analytics, ads, other embedded contents are termed as non-necessary cookies. It is mandatory to procure user consent prior to running these cookies on your website.