‘I’d love to win a tournament on clay,’ says Naomi Osaka as she expects ‘interesting’ campaign on red dirt

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Naomi Osaka zoning in

She has seven WTA Tour titles to her name, but Naomi Osaka is yet to taste success on clay so unsurprisingly the world No 2 is hoping to change that during the 2021 clay-court swing.

The 23-year-old has no doubt been the form player on the hard courts since the WTA Tour resumed in August last year as she won 23 consecutive matches on the surface, including the 2020 US Open and the Australian Open at the beginning of this campaign.

However, her excellent run was ended in the quarter-final of the Miami Open by Maria Sakkari as she suffered a 6-0, 6-4 defeat against the Greek.

Naomi Osaka on finding ways to win when not playing well and needing to rise above pressure

The attention now shifts to clay, a surface that Osaka hasn’t had much success on as her best performances at Roland Garros have been three third-round appearances while she reached the quarter-finals in Madrid and Italy.

The four-time major winner, though, is hoping for a change of fortune with the help of her coach Wim Fissette.

“I’d love to win a tournament on clay,” Osaka told WTA Insider. “I think for me, I’m going to learn a lot from Wim. He’s very energetic and excited to move on to the new surfaces.

“It’s definitely going to be a really fun and good time with everyone. I haven’t lost since Yutaka has came on the team. It’s just a good energy to have for me. I feel really bad for my team whenever I lose, but they were all very, very supportive.

“It’s going to be really interesting.”

She added: “I feel like no matter what I’ll have more freedom on the clay courts and the grass than on hard, because I feel like I’m still learning a lot on those surfaces.”

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