Naomi Osaka has already accomplished a lot in singles tennis. The 22-year-old has already won two Grand Slam singles titles – the 2018 US Open and 2019 Australian Open. She also has reached the world number one spot in the WTA rankings and has won five singles titles on the WTA Tour.
But the doubles tennis world still remains largely unknown to Osaka.
Mixed doubles tennis on Osaka’s mind
She is expected to partner Kei Nishikori in the mixed doubles for Japan at the Tokyo Olympic Games next year, but she will need some practice before that. Osaka and the men’s world number 31 Nishikori are strong medal hopes for Japan in a home Olympic Games in 2021.
Osaka teased her fans on Twitter on Wednesday, expressing her wish to start playing mixed doubles.
The Japanese star, known to be a shy person, said that she is very bad at doubles and would embarrass herself.
“I lowkey want to start playing mixed doubles but I’m so bad at doubles I would just say, “sorry (emojis)” and embarrass myself the entire time,” Osaka wrote on Twitter.
I lowkey want to start playing mixed doubles but I’m so bad at doubles I would just say, “sorry 😅😢” and embarrass myself the entire time 🙁
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) August 11, 2020
Sviatek’s offer to Naomi Osaka
She then received an offer from world number 50 in the singles, Iga Swiatek from Poland to practice on the doubles court with her. Swiatek joked with Osaka that the Japanese player could practice ‘not saying sorry’ if they play together. “If you want you can practise not saying sorry on dubs with me… I don’t mind haha,” Swiatek replied to Osaka.
If you want you can practise not saying sorry on dubs with me… I don’t mind haha😬😇
— Iga Świątek (@iga_swiatek) August 11, 2020
Swiatek achieved her career-best singles ranking in February this year. She made a run to the Round of 16 at the Australian Open in January.
Shifting focus entirely to singles
Naomi Osaka has not played doubles tennis on the WTA Tour since 2017. She played quite a few events in 2017 with various partners. But since having a breakthrough year in singles in 2018, Osaka decided to focus on her singles career. She won at Indian Wells and the US Open that year. Her purple patch extended into the start of 2019 where she beat Petra Kvitova in the Australian Open final for second Grand Slam title.
Osaka’s last match before the Tour stopped was a Fed Cup qualifier in Feb. Before that, she lost in the Round of 32 at the Australian Open to teenager Coco Gauff. She has still not made a comeback after the resumption. Osaka will be one of the favorites heading into the US Open.