Sascha Bajin- “I Certainly Don’t Hold a Grudge Against Naomi Osaka”

The ex-coach of Naomi Osaka, Sascha Bajin opened up about the abrupt end of their league which took place in February this year. Bajin assisted Naomi Osaka to rise to World Number one raking by achieving two consecutive Grand Slams and in 2018 he was the WTA Coach of the Year, as Naomi Osaka bagged the Indian Wells 2018 title and the US Open title.

At present, Sascha Bajin is working on his book named, ‘Strengthen Your Mind: 50 Habits for Mental Change’ and over there he mentions about Naomi Osaka clinching her US Open title after defeating her idol, Serena Williams in the final.

The German, Sascha Bajin mentions that both of them could join hands once again and work together. “Right now, it still hurts, but I certainly don’t hold a grudge against Naomi Osaka for ending our partnership. I was there to help her achieve her dreams, and it was always going to be her decision whether we continued working together or not,” Bajin wrote.

Sascha Bajin and Naomi Osaka

“I could even see myself working with Naomi again, should she want to. I like to think that it’s not over and that we could work together further down the road. There have been occasions in tennis when a player and a coach have split, and then reunited, so it wouldn’t be the first time; it wouldn’t be that unusual. Naomi is taking a different path for now, and so am I, but who knows what will happen in the future?” he continued.

Sascha Bajin further mentioned about the effort and concealed factors which are involved in creating a tennis player and he was shattered upon learning from Osaka’s agent that she wanted to annul their league.

“I put a lot of love and emotion into helping Naomi, as well as dedication and hard work, and I’m proud of what she accomplished. I can’t think of another job which has as little job security as a tennis coach working with an elite athlete, as the player can suddenly decide at any moment to end the partnership. But that still didn’t prepare me for the devastating call from Naomi’s agent passing on the news that Naomi wanted to bring our player-coach relationship to a close,” Bajin wrote.

Sascha Bajin and Naomi Osaka

Right after, the Japanese tennis sensation, Naomi Osaka had won her second major title in Melbourne and her victory was followed by the sacking of her coach. The very same day, when their partnership had concluded, Sascha Bajin and Naomi Osaka met each other and he was miserable to face her at that time.

“Naomi Osaka and I had met earlier that day, along with the rest of the team, but I had left that meeting still believing that we would work it out, that she still wanted me by her side. I feel sad that this ended when it did, just days after Naomi had won her second Grand Slam at the 2019 Australian Open, which took her to No.1,” Bajin continued.

Sascha Bajin thought of having a long term relationship with Naomi Osaka and was looking forward to creating a difference in the sport of tennis. “I believe that Naomi Osaka and I could have worked well together for a long period of time, for a number of years, and that was certainly my intention. I would have gladly worked with Naomi Osaka for another five years, and then retired as a traveling coach, as by then I probably would have achieved everything I would have wanted in the sport,” Bajin mentioned in his upcoming book.

Sascha Bajin and Naomi Osaka

“There was nothing I wouldn’t have sacrificed in order to help Naomi. I can’t think of anything I wouldn’t have done to help her. She was fully aware of that. I can sleep well at night because I couldn’t have tried any harder, or done anymore, for Naomi,” Bajin said.

When their split was announced, the social media created havoc and people came up with false explanations and stated it to be the reason for their separation. Following the social media wave, Sascha Bajin as appalled upon reading the interpretations of the world.

“So much had happened in Naomi’s life in the space of a year – on and off the court – so there had been a lot to take in and process. I believe things always happen for a reason. I was amused by some of the outrageous theories on social media from random people I had never met who apparently had an inside track on what had happened,”

Sascha Bajin and Naomi Osaka

“There were so many stories that were so extreme, and I just thought: ‘Come on, guys.’ I was tempted to reply to a few people on social media, but I stopped myself, realising that would make it into a bigger story. One of the rumours on social media was that Naomi and I fell out over money. There was absolutely no truth to that; we never fought over money,” Bajin wrote.

Apparently, Sascha Bajin misses working with Naomi Osaka, they spent more time together than with their families and it was difficult for Bajin to accept the end of their coaching relationship.

“When you work as closely with someone as Naomi and I did, and it then ends abruptly, it can feel like a break-up. I was with Naomi almost every day of the year – we only spent 13 days apart in 2018 – and it was intense. It’s normal that I miss working with her and being around her,” Bajin wrote.

“I miss her quiet personality, her shy smile that comes through, her sarcasm. I miss driving from my home in Palm Beach Gardens to the Chris Evert Academy in Boca Raton in Florida, where we trained. More than anything, I’m going to miss talking to her. I really care about Naomi and think she’s a super sweet girl,” he added.

Presently, Sascha Bajin is working with Kristina Mladenovic, who became the women’s doubles champion at French Open 2019 and also she attained the World Number one ranking on the doubles table.

Published by
Mahalakshmi Murali