Tommy Haas Recalls How He Thought of Naomi Osaka After Watching Her for the First Time

Published 02/21/2021, 12:50 AM EST
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka in action during her semi final match against Serena Williams of the U.S. REUTERS/Kelly Defina


The 2021 Australian Open champion, Naomi Osaka, has been swamped with congratulatory messages from former players and fans around the world.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Osaka clinched her 4th Grand Slam trophy after beating Jennifer Brady in the final and became only the third player in the Open Era to win their first four Grand Slam finals.

Tennis – Australian Open – Women’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates with the trophy after winning her final match against Jennifer Brady of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

Recently, in an interview, German tennis legend Tommy Haas talked about watching Osaka play for the first time at the 2018 Indian Wells Masters.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

Haas recalled watching the then 21-year-old Osaka beat Maria Sharapova in straight sets and eventually winning her first-ever WTA title.

Haas’ first impression of Naomi Osaka

Watching Osaka’s aggressive game style made Haas believe Osaka would become a future superstar, a statement that has proved prescient.

“I remember watching this entire match, and it was a very tight game, I think Maria had some chances, but Naomi won that match 6-4, 6-4.

“And we were like saying, ‘Wow, this girl is really really good, I think she has a chance of getting far here. Next thing you know, she wins the tournament,” said Haas.

Being the Director of Indian Wells, Haas mentioned watching Osaka give a speech during the presentation ceremony and remembered how nervous she sounded.

Tennis – Australian Open – Women’s Singles Final – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, Japan’s Naomi Osaka celebrates winning her final match against Jennifer Brady of the U.S. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Despite being highly impressed by Osaka’s tennis, her shyness came as a slight surprise for Haas. “I think she was so nervous and it was the first tournament she’d ever won on the tour, and it’s such a big one, and she was so shy,” added Haas.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

In fact, apart from her tremendous success over the last 4 years, Osaka has transformed from a shy individual to a confident media-savvy personality.

The victory in the final also increased Osaka’s overall winning streak to 21 matches and helped her climb to the No.2 spot in the WTA rankings.

ADVERTISEMENT

Article continues below this ad

The Japanese tennis star has inspired millions of young girls with her exploits on the tennis court and has also become the highest-paid female athlete in the world.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE :

Kshitij Tayal

394 articles

Kshitij Tayal is a tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having played district-level tennis competitions, Kshitij is also a tenured journalist of the sport with over four years of experience. At EssentiallySports, he pens down some thought-provoking pieces on players and tournaments across the ATP and WTA.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT