It’s all about having fun for Naomi Osaka as she admits ‘if I play well, then I’ll be No 1’
Naomi Osaka opened her grass-court season with a hard-fought win over Maria Sakkari and admitted she has changed her mindset with regards to the world No 1 ranking saying “if I play well, then I’ll be No 1”.
The two-time Grand Slam winner has been top of the world rankings since she won the Australian Open, but she has been in poor form since winning in Melbourne.
Several players have had the chance to knock her off top spot since then, but have come up short.
The No 1 ranking is once again on the line at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham and French Open champion Ashleigh Barty could take over top spot should things not go well for the Japanese player.
Osaka, who lost in the third round at Roland Garros, was tested by Sakkari in the opening round before grinding out a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win in one hour and 59 minutes.
She moves into the second round with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 win 💪 pic.twitter.com/iCAUWqdhIg
— WTA (@WTA) June 18, 2019
“During my entire clay season, it kind of mattered,” the 21-year-old said. “And I think it showed because I was stressed out the entire time.
“So, for me, now, I’m just 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.”
She will take on Yulia Putintseva next after the Kazakh player beat British wildcard Hariet Dart 6-1, 6-4.
Former French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko got a confidence-boosting win as she demolished Iga Swiatek 6-0, 6-2 while Petra Martic beat Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-3, 7-5 win.
Sixth seed Julia Goerges also advanced with 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Dayana Yastremska.
More from Tennis365:
Dominic Thiem on Emma Raducanu’s US Open win: ‘It’s one of the greatest achievements in women’s sport’
“Perhaps it is the greatest breakthrough of all time,” says Dominic Thiem.
‘Unfair that Novak Djokovic is always the bad guy and Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal are the good guys’
“I hope he is treated a little more fairly,” says Boris Becker.
Venus Williams explains backstory behind photo with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova at Met Gala
Just Venus, Serena and Maria enjoying a laugh in the bathroom at the Met Gala.
‘I think it’s gradually sinking in a bit more,’ says Emma Raducanu after ‘whirlwind experience’
The teenager took part in a round of breakfast TV and radio interviews.
‘People are talking about tennis again,’ revels Boris Becker after ‘Dame Emma Raducanu’s’ heroics
Boris Becker waxes lyrical about Emma Raducanu.
Tennis to introduce ‘Stefanos Tsitsipas bathroom break rule’ following Greek’s lengthy loo visits?
Stricter rules on the cards following furore over Stefanos Tsitsipas’ loo breaks.
LTA chief insists Emma Raducanu will not lose focus after stunning rise to the top
Lloyd has called for the newly-crowned US Open champion to be given “breathing space”.
Emma Raducanu delighted to return back in the UK and reunite with her father
Raducanu was pictured outside her house after travelling back from New York.
Introducing Wilson’s Blade v8 racket Emma Raducanu could use at the Australian Open
Emma Raducanu is set to be wielding a new-look weapon when he plays at the Australian Open in January.
Shock defeat for Andy Murray as he is beaten in Rennes
The Russian is ranked 42 places below Murray.