“Don’t Think That Osaka Is Going to Be in New York” – Journalist Underestimates Naomi Osaka’s Chances at US Open 2021

Published 08/30/2021, 3:30 PM EDT
Aug 19, 2021; Mason, OH, USA; Naomi Osaka (JPN) returns a shot against Jil Teichmann (SUI) during the Western and Southern Open at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports


In a highly competitive women’s singles category at the US Open, Naomi Osaka arrives in Flushing Meadows as the defending champion. However, the Japanese tennis struggled to return to top form since returning at the Tokyo Olympics.

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Ahead of her title defence in Flushing Meadows, journalists Steve Flink and Ubaldo Scanagatta spoke about her chances to claim another US Open.

Scanagatta calls Osaka the best player on hard courts

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Osaka made quite an impression in the last two hard court Grand Slam tournaments. While she won last year’s US Open, she followed that up with a victory at the Australian Open earlier this year.

However, the 23-year-old withdrew from this year’s French Open citing mental health issues. Following this, she skipped Wimbledon, and made her return at the Tokyo Olympics. Despite carrying an excellent reputation on hard courts, Osaka lost to Marketa Vondrousova in straight sets.

She didn’t face much better during WTA tournaments prior to the US Open. At the Cincinnati Open, the World No. 3 suffered a shock loss to unseeded Jil Teichmann. There’s no doubt that her recent run of form leaves her slightly short on confidence ahead of her title defence in New York.

However, Scanagatta termed her a favorite due to her reputation on hard courts. He said“When we say that Barty is the strong favorite, we shouldn’t forget that Naomi Osaka was the winner of the last US Open. And Osaka, on hard court, is probably the best player when she plays well, if she doesn’t have mental problems.”

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Flink doesn’t expect to see the best version of Osaka at the US Open

Meanwhile, Flink fed off Scanagatta’s initial comments on Osaka to make some of his own. While he agreed with the Italian’s comments on Osaka being one of the best, he believes her mental state will not allow her reach her highest levels.

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Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Tennis – Women’s Singles – Round 3 – Ariake Tennis Park – Tokyo, Japan – July 27, 2021. Naomi Osaka of Japan walks off after losing her third round match against Marketa Vondrousova of Czech Republic REUTERS/Mike Segar

He said, “It seems whatever is going on with her off the court is carrying over to the way she’s playing these matches. We totally agree when she’s in the right frame of mind, she’s the best hard court player in the world.

“But, I don’t think that Osaka is going to be in New York. If she is, great. I’m thrilled for her if we see her turn around and play her best. I’m just not expecting it at the moment.”

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Osaka will begin her title defence in New York against Marie Bouzkova later today.

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Sanket Nair

610 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management graduate, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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