HIGHLIGHTS: Naomi Osaka d. Anastasija Sevastova, 3-6, 6-0, 6-4
Naomi Osaka spent the offseason working on her fitness and footwork, according to coach Sasha Bajin, and wants more success this season.
During the previous year, the 21-year-old has won her first WTA title at Indian Wells, followed by her first Grand Slam at the US Open. Those successes have come since Bajin joined Osaka's team a little more than a year ago.
"I know she wants to prove everybody that it wasn't like a fluke or anything," he told press at Brisbane. "The approach might be just a little bit different. It's always a little bit tougher to defend than to rise up. Like staying on top is a little bit harder. But there is still so much she wants to achieve, I want to achieve with her, so much we want to work on and improve on."
Having improved the hard-hitting Osaka's shot selection the previous season, Bajin said this offseason was largely about fitness, and especially footwork.
"So that's definitely one aspect that I believe that where was the most room for improvement left," he said. "There is other things we want to improve on which take a little bit more time, but getting the feet right, I believe was the first approach that we needed to do in order then for her to be able to take advantage of her big shots and to make sure that, yeah, she gets there and then allows herself to hit the ball the way she wants to hit it."
Osaka says she has been attempting to put that into practice, using her fitness during play.
"And even though it didn't seem like it because I was blasting half of the balls, I was trying to construct the point a little bit, so I think that's what mattered to me the most," she said following her opening win at Brisbane.
Osaka is fifth in the WTA rankings.
This Week on Tennis Channel Plus:
Hopman Cup (Sat - Sat 12.29 - 1.5)
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ATP/WTA Brisbane (Sun - Sun 12.30 - 1.6)
• Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray, Naomi Osaka and Sloane Stephens open their 2019 seasons in Brisbane. Live coverage from three courts begins on Tennis Channel Plus on Sunday 12/30 at 8:00pm ET.
WTA Auckland (Sun - Sun 12.30 - 1.6)
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WTA Shenzhen (Sat - Sat 12.29 - 1.5)
• Watch first to last ball action from the Shenzhen Open featuring Maria Sharapova and Jelena Ostapenko beginning Saturday 12/29 at 11:00pm ET.
ATP Pune (Mon - Sat 12.31 - 1.5)
• Watch Kevin Anderson, Marin Cilic and Hyeon Chung live from Pune starting Monday 12/31 at 6:30am ET.