Osaka wants to channel Melbourne mindset in Paris

By Sports Desk May 24, 2019

Naomi Osaka will attempt to channel her Melbourne mindset when she goes in search of a third consecutive grand slam at the French Open.

The world number one had her major breakthrough at last year's US Open and impressively backed that up by triumphing at the Australian Open early in 2019.

Her memorable victory over Petra Kvitova saw her become the first woman since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 to follow up a maiden slam with success at the following major.

Osaka was asked at a pre-French Open news conference whether she went into those tournaments believing she was going to win and if it is a mentality she has again for Roland Garros.

"The US Open, no," Osaka, who faces Anna Karolina Schmiedlova in round one, replied with a smile. "The US Open mainly because I lost three matches in a row before that. 

"Honestly, I just wanted to play well. Maybe get to the quarters, just have a good time. But then I ended up winning. 

"But in Australia, the goal was to win. That was what I was waking up every day thinking. Walk through the tunnel, like, you see the two trophies. I would kind of tap that, the woman's trophy side. 

"In the Australian Open, my mindset was very different from the US Open. For me here, I'm trying to emulate the same mindset. I don't want to be here thinking I want to get to the quarters. Of course, I have never been that far here before, but my end goal is to win, of course."

At 21, Osaka already has two slams and the world number one ranking on her tennis CV, but the Japanese admits she had to tame her huge ambitions.

"I feel really old, but actually, I'm 21," she added. "I feel like when I talk to you guys [the media], it's like I'm talking like I'm a 35-year-old person that's been through a lot. 

"So, for me it's always because I always had really big goals and dreams. I always thought I would be number one and win a grand slam when I was 18. 

"I know that sounds kind of crazy. When that didn't happen, I was a little bit depressed. I was thinking I'm kind of late to the party. 

"Then I kind of realised that everyone has their own path. I'm not really supposed to compare myself to anyone else and I should just keep working as hard as I can, and eventually I'll get to where I want to be."

Osaka met Rafael Nadal during a stint at the Spanish great's academy during her preparations for Paris, an experience she described as "really cool".

That venture was to boost her chances of success in the French capital, but Osaka also harbours long-term ambitions to go with her immediate goals. 

"Roland Garros [is the dream]. That, for me, is what I'm dreaming about right now," she said. 

"If you're talking about longer goals, of course I haven't won Wimbledon yet either, and it would be really cool to win everything in one year. 

"But also, the Olympics are coming up, too. We're not forgetting about that. I think there are so many things going on." 

Related items

  • Auger-Aliassime gets walkover into Stuttgart final, rain halts Den Bosch semis Auger-Aliassime gets walkover into Stuttgart final, rain halts Den Bosch semis

    Felix Auger-Aliassime received a walkover into a Stuttgart Open final against Matteo Berrettini, while the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships semi-finals will not conclude until Sunday.

    A lower back injury led to sixth seed Milos Raonic, who was taking part in his first tournament since the Miami Open in March, withdrawing from the all-Canadian final-four match in Germany.

    "I'm very sorry and apologetic that I'm unable to compete. I was hoping for the best after my match yesterday," said 2016 Wimbledon finalist Raonic.

    "I woke up this morning not feeling my best. I wanted to come out here and give it a try. And after looking at it very diligently with my team, and the way I was feeling with my back, I found it was not possible for me to compete without taking any greater risk."

    Berrettini faced his first two break points of the tournament but staved them off en route to a 6-4 7-5 victory over home hope Jan-Lennard Struff.

    In Den Bosch, Borna Coric saved two match points but fell a mini-break behind in a third-set tie-break before his semi-final against Adrian Mannarino was interrupted by rain.

    Jordan Thompson claimed an important break to move 7-5 5-3 up against Richard Gasquet but was facing a break point in game nine of the second set when play was suspended.

    The players will conclude their matches on Sunday before the final is contested.

  • Bertens makes first grass final on home soil Bertens makes first grass final on home soil

    Kiki Bertens reached her first WTA Tour final on grass with a straight-sets victory over Elena Rybakina at the Rosmalen Grass Court Championships on Saturday.

    World number four Bertens triumphed 6-4 6-4 to reach the showpiece without dropping a set on home soil and Alison Riske is up next for the Dutchwoman. 

    Bertens secured a break in Rybakina's opening service game but found herself 3-2 down at the end of game five after the Kazakh got back on serve and then held to love.

    However, Bertens stepped up her game and eased to the first set, before surviving a wobble when she was broken to love in her first chance to serve out the match.

    Riske reached the final courtesy of a 6-4 3-6 7-6 (7-5) victory over Veronika Kudermetova.

    The American fell 3-1 behind in the third-set tie-break but won the last five points of the match to set up a meeting with Bertens.

    In Nottingham, Donna Vekic reeled off 12 straight games to complete a 5-7 6-0 6-0 victory over Tatjana Maria.

    Vekic appears set to face top seed Caroline Garcia in the final, with the Frenchwoman serving with a 4-6 6-3 4-3 lead over Jennifer Brady when play was suspended due to persistent rain.

  • Murray to face top seeds in Queen's doubles return Murray to face top seeds in Queen's doubles return

    Andy Murray will face the Fever-Tree Championships' top seeds on his doubles return after the former world number one and Feliciano Lopez were drawn against Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah.

    The event confirmed last week that two-time Wimbledon singles champion Murray would make his competitive comeback in the tournament having been out since January following a resurfacing operation on a longstanding hip problem.

    The 32-year-old has not played since a five-set Australian Open loss to Roberto Bautista Agut and he and his Spanish partner Lopez have been handed a tough assignment against Colombian duo Cabal and Farah at Queen's.

    In the singles draw, top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Kyle Edmund first up while South African Kevin Anderson, another player making his comeback having been out since March with an elbow injury, will meet Cameron Norrie.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.