- Naomi Osaka just won the 2019 Australian Open, which follows on from her 2018 US Open success.
- But she has expressed fears for the season ahead.
- Osaka has proved exceptional on hard courts, but says she needs to improve her mentality when it comes to clay and grass court tennis.
- “People slide and slip and it is a little bit frightening,” she recently told The Guardian.
- Fortunately for Osaka, she has plenty of time to prepare as the clay season does not begin until April, with grass tennis taking over in the summer.
Naomi Osaka has not let back-to-back Grand Slam victories go to her head, and has openly admitted her fears ahead of two of the year’s biggest tournaments.
Osaka has exhibited great tennis in the new season, winning the 2019 Australian Open, which follows her 2018 US Open success, and is now ranked the world’s number one women’s singles player by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
Much will be expected of Osaka throughout the year, but the 21-year-old said on Sunday that she actually fears Wimbledon’s grass surface, playing down what is perhaps now expected of her in the majors ahead.
When it comes to grass courts, The Guardian quotes Osaka to have said that she sees “people slide and slip and it is a little bit frightening.” She added: “So I think I have to change that.”
Though Osaka is a two-time Grand Slam champion, she has only ever reached the third round of Wimbledon and the French Open. Regardless, she has ambitions of being “an all-court player,” she said.
The clay surface of Roland Garros arrives sooner than the grass courts at Wimbledon, and Osaka wants to convince herself that she can play on clay, too.
“I think mentally, I don’t like clay. I always tell myself I don’t like clay, so I never really embrace anything about it and that is something I have to change.”
Fortunately for Osaka, she has plenty of time to prepare. The hard court season does not end until March, with clay tennis beginning in April. Grass court tennis, meanwhile, begins in June.
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