Naomi Osaka feeling ‘very confident’ ahead of US Open despite recent hiccups
It has not been vintage Naomi Osaka in recent months, but the two-time Grand Slam winner is in confident mood ahead of the defence of her US Open title.
The world No 1 has not won a tournament or reached a final since she secured the Australian Open at the start of the year while she has also struggled with niggling injuries.
She was forced to retire from her Cincinnati Masters clash against Sofia Kenin last week due to a knee problem, but the 21-year-old is upbeat ahead of the final major of the year at Flushing Meadows.
“I think going to Indian Wells and kind of learning how defending champion pressure feels, I think it definitely helped me out going into this tournament,” Osaka said. “Because I just feel more loose and comfortable here. I’m not sure if it’s because the last couple of months have been kind of turbulent, but definitely I feel really comfortable and I know that, despite everything, I play well here every year. So I’m not too worried about that.”
The Japanese player was a surprise US Open winner last year as she started her campaign on the back of a couple of early exits from tournaments preceding the event.
Although her form has been patchy this year, she is coming off the back of last-eight displays in Cincinnati and the Canadian Open.
“My feeling last year was I lost three matches in a row before I came here, so I just wanted to, like, get one match,” she said. “Then it just kept building on from that.
“As opposed to this year, I went to two quarter-finals back to back [in Toronto and Cincinnati], and I feel very confident about how I am right now. So, yeah, it’s a bit contrasting.”
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