‘Federer and Nadal Played So Many Different Times’- Naomi Osaka Opens up on Rivalry With Iga Swiatek

Published 04/03/2022, 1:06 AM EDT

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USA Today via Reuters

Iga Swiatek continued her dream run in 2022, breezing past Naomi Osaka in straight sets 6-4, 6-0 to win the Miami Masters title. Although the match only lasted 1 hour and 19 minutes and eventually turned out to be a lopsided affair, both the players played competitive tennis in the opening set. After the match, both players congratulated each other for their achievements in this tournament. Later, at the press conference, the former World No.1 spoke about the rivalry between her and Swiatek. Also, she shared her thoughts about the legendary rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. 

Naomi Osaka speaks about her rivalry with Iga Swiatek and compares it with Fedal


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At the press conference, Osaka spoke about a lot of things, including her goals and the rivalry between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, and many more. Also, she felt happy with her current level, reaching the final of any tournament for the first time in nearly 14 months.


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“Yeah, I would say from Indian Wells to now, I have known that my tennis like is at a good level, but I haven’t like strung together victories like this in a while. I’d say that my No. 1 goal from Indian Wells to this tournament was just to play well, and no matter what happens happens. I know that French Open is far away, and the clay season is upcoming, but I think my goal there is just to like keep a positive outlook on life. I’m going to watch a lot of Nadal videos to see how he moves,” Osaka said at the press conference. 

She also talked about her current rankings, as she has aspirations of reclaiming the No.1 spot again in future. “But yeah, I think by like next year or by the end of this year I would love to be top 10. By next year I would love to be the No. 1. Oh, that’s a big statement. Close to — top 5. Erase that. Top 5. You know what? I’m going to set that goal. Top 1, yeah, No. 1,” Osaka stated.

USA Today via Reuters

Speaking about her rivalry with Iga Swiatek, the Japanese player said, “Yeah, when I hear someone say like “rivalry,” it makes me remember when people said like me and Barty were in a rivalry, but we didn’t play that much, to be honest. I mean, I would love to be rivals with Iga, but I feel like we need to — like Federer and Nadal played so many different times, so we’d need to play at least five different times, I would say.”

“But yeah, for me, like, I always keep the same answer. Rivalries are what make the sport go around. People want to see the matchup in different countries or different surfaces. I think that’s the most exciting thing about tennis is like you play in different altitudes, different conditions. So yeah. I don’t know if she really considers me a rival, but sure, that would be fun,” Osaka further added. 


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What’s next for Osaka?

After reaching the Miami Open final, Osaka should receive a massive boost in her rankings. On Monday, the WTA will release the new rankings. Right now, she’s focusing on the clay-court season, keeping the French Open in mind. Also, the rankings will be a big factor in getting a direct entry at Roland Garros.

All of Osaka’s four Grand Slam triumphs have come on hard courts and she didn’t really play that much either on grass or clay. So, this season should be a great opportunity for the former World No.1 to improve her stature on grass and clay as well.


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Written by:

Debkinkar Maity


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Debkinkar Maity is a Tennis Author at EssentiallySports. His desire to become a sports journalist inspired him to take up a degree in journalism and mass communication, and he hasn't looked back ever since. Following the sport for over a decade now, Debkinkar has an ardent love for Roger Federer.
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Edited by:

Niranjan Deodhar