“Had a Hard Time”: Naomi Osaka Reveals the Reason for Improving Her Serve

Published 02/19/2021, 7:30 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her third round match against Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur REUTERS/Jaimi Joy


World No. 3 Naomi Osaka booked a spot in the final at Australian Open 2021 after beating Serena Williams in straight sets. The Japanese star has played brilliantly in the tournament so far and is one step away from lifting her fourth Grand Slam title. She will now take on another American player, Jennifer Brady, in the final. 

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Recently, Osaka made an interesting revelation, stating that she needed to improve her service return. She remembered that during the US Open final last year, she struggled to win points on her serve even though she won the match. Her opponent, Victoria Azarenka, capitalized on her weak serve and returned with fierce power. 

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 18, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her semi final match against Serena Williams of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Naomi Osaka: “The biggest thing I wanted to improve was my service return”

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Elaborating on her serve issue, Naomi stated, “After the US Open final the biggest thing I wanted to improve was my service return. After I played Vika I had a hard time having confidence with my services and for me, that’s very rare. I thought that spoke to how well she returned, and I wanted to put that kind of pressure on people as well. So that was definitely our goal in the off-season.”

During the tournament so far, Osaka has beat players like Ons Jabeur and twenty-three-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams. She even beat two-time Grand Slam winner Garbine Muguruza after recovering from being down match points. 

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Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 14, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her fourth round match against Spain’s Garbine Muguruza REUTERS/Loren Elliott

The Japanese starlet spoke about her next opponent, Jennifer Brady, and even mentioned the women’s Tour. The 23-year-old said, “After I played her in the semis of New York I knew she was going to do well. I think for me that’s the most interesting thing about women’s tennis right now. There are so many amazing new players and so many players people can watch. That’s a really good thing. I’m actually really excited to play my match on Saturday.”

Naomi won her first Australian Open title in 2019. She has won all three of her Grand Slam titles on hard-court surfaces and will be the favorite to lift her fourth Grand Slam title in Melbourne. 

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Rohan Kollare

579 articles

Rohan Kollare is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. Rohan has a post-graduate diploma in Sports Management and a trophy cabinet adorned with accolades won in district and state-level tennis competitions. He has previously worked in Content Operations for Disney’s Hotstar for over a year, covering tennis and Formula One.

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