Tennis: Osaka so much more than a hardcourt specialist, says coach

Reuters , Sunday 14 Feb 2021

Osaka was also getting increasingly involved in data as part of her preparations


Japan's Naomi Osaka has won three of the last five Grand Slams played on hardcourts but the world number three is also more than capable of lifting titles on grass and clay, her coach Wim Fissette said on Sunday.

Osaka won back-to-back Grand Slam titles at the 2018 U.S. Open and the Australian Open in 2019 and picked up her third major at Flushing Meadows last year but she has never made it beyond the third round at Wimbledon or Roland Garros.

Fissette, who guided Kim Clijsters to three Grand Slams and also worked with major winners Simona Halep, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber, said Osaka had been "quite dominant" on hardcourts over the last couple of years and was still improving on the surface.

"I also think that Naomi is much more of just a really good hardcourt player, and I'm really looking forward to a kind of normal claycourt and grasscourt season," said Fissette after Osaka reached the quarter-finals at Melbourne Park.

"I really want to see her perform there. I have no doubt she can do really well on those surfaces, too.

"I really hope it's going to happen and she can also gain confidence on those surfaces because she hasn't been successful."

Fissette, who started working with Osaka at the end of 2019, said the former world No.1 was one of the best servers in women's tennis but that she was aware her return game needed improvement.

Osaka was also getting increasingly involved in data as part of her preparations, the Belgian added.

"She's getting more and more into it," the coach said. "She's even asking after the matches, 'What were my stats on the winners and unforced, the second serve?'"

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