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Naomi Osaka exit from Australian Open blamed on ‘over ambitiousness’

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naomi osaka exit from australian open
Naomi Osaka. Photo/First Post
  • Navratilova graded Osaka’s performance at ‘C’
  • She said the Japanese star failed in her ambition
  • Osaka is happy that she played well

Naomi Osaka exit from Australian Open faster than she got in earned her criticism from former Grand Slam champion Martina Navratilova.

Navratilova graded Osaka’s performance at ‘C’ adding that she disappointed her fanbase for being overconfident.

She said the Japanese star failed in her ambition to restore her waning glory by returning to the court before getting in good shape.

How Did Naomi Osaka Exit From the Australian Open?

Osaka lost to in the first round of the Australian Open 2024 to Caroline Garcia with a score of 6-4, 7-6(2).  The biggest shock was that she exited the even in the first round just when her fans had a lot of hope in her.

Garcia’s powerful serve and strong baseline game challenged Osaka who hasn’t didn’t play for more than one season.

What Does Martina Navratilova Say About Naomi Osaka Exiting Australian Open?

Recognizing Osaka’s competitiveness against 2022 WTA Finals champion Garcia, Navratilova pointed out that Osaka didn’t fully use her skills.

naomi osaka exit from australian open

Naomi Osaka. Photo/WWOS-Nine

She said it was evident the mother of one is out of shape. Navratilova said that Osaka’s competitive spirit was hindered by her subpar physical condition.

“Tennis-wise, it was maybe a B-plus performance. But overall a C, because she couldn’t get to the ball that she wants to hit because she is not in shape,” she told Tennis Channel.

She added that: “I am surprised that she started playing, that she got on the tour that she played this tournament without clearly being in the tip-top shape she needs to be in order to put herself in the position to hit the big, big balls. She was stretched out way too much and the fact that she didn’t have a break point tells you all you need to know about that match.

Did Naomi Osaka Fail to Perform For Giving Birth?

According to Navratilova, Osaka’s motherhood status shouldn’t be a reason why she failed to perform at Melbourne as many would expect.

The 18-time Grand Slam champion recalled that Elina Svitolina challenged all female tennis players when she returned to the game after giving birth.

Svitolina came back well-prepared and stunned tennis fans with her fitness level. Navratilova urged Osaka to focus on getting fit before eyeing more slams.

What Did Naomi Osaka Say After Australian Open Exit?

Osaka expressed a bit of frustration, acknowledging that she wished for a better outcome for her daughter Shai, who remained at home in the US.

Despite this, she maintained a positive perspective on her performance against Garcia’s judgment. She said that she gave the match her best but this didn’t work out as she expected.

“I did the best that I could possibly do. It was just really nice to be on Rod Laver [Arena] again, hear the audience, how much they interacted with the match. That was fun,” she expressed.

Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champions in December 2023 expressed hope and fear of her return to tennis in 2024. She expressed uncertainty about her competitive readiness at the start of the 2024 WTA Tour.

She harboured a hint of apprehension regarding the demands tournament play and its accompanying demands despite extensive training for her comeback.

naomi osaka new mindset

Naomi Osaka playing at the Brisbane International Open. Photo/NBC Sports

However, she chose to be optimistic about it all.

“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play. So I think some people will be happy with that. I realized that I don’t know how the beginning of the year is going to go for me. I don’t know the level of player, and I think I have to ease into it. At the very least, I will set myself up for a very good end of the year,” she said.

Looking ahead, Osaka is expected to shift her focus to preparations for the Middle East swing in February.

While her participation in specific tournaments hasn’t been officially confirmed, given the trend of top players participating in Middle East events during February, it’s probable that the former world No. 1 will resume competition there.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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