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Osaka eager to improve consistency across all surfaces this season
"I didn't play juniors, so I didn't grow up playing on grass at all. So I honestly think I'd have better luck on clay," the four-time Grand Slam champion said.
Published Feb 23, 2021
Having just won her fourth Grand Slam title on hard courts, Naomi Osaka is now seeking the same consistency across surfaces.
"I think that's the biggest goal right now," she told press in Melbourne the day following her Australian Open victory. "I just really want to get comfortable on the other surfaces."
The 23 year old has never been beyond the third round at either the French Open on clay or the grass at Wimbledon, and says she simply hasn't had enough experience on those surfaces.
"I didn't play juniors, so I didn't grow up playing on grass at all. So I honestly think I'd have better luck on clay," she said upon winning the final in Melbourne against Jennifer Brady.
While the world No. 2 did not play on clay in 2020, she consistently reached semifinals and quarterfinals during her WTA clay events in 2019, something she points to as a sign of improvement.
"I didn't play bad at all. It's just something that I have to get more used to," she said.
Still, Osaka is aiming for more big tournament wins regardless of what surface they some on, saying "every opportunity that I play a Slam is an opportunity to win a Slam. But I don't want to weigh myself down with pressure and expectations. I know that the people that I'm playing against are the best players in the world," she said.
Yet one thing the former No.1 isn't concentrating on is her ranking, saying that will take care of itself if she achieves her goals.
"I don't really think about the ranking at all. For me, I don't play the most tournaments in the tour. That's my goal is to be consistent this year, not to have a huge drop off," she said. "I don't want to think too much about the rankings."
Osaka's victory was her second at the Australian Open, along with two titles at the US Open.