Indian Wells 2024: ‘Short Notice Call’ for Naomi Osaka’s Famous Ex Coach Raises Epic Reunion Speculations

Published 03/04/2024, 4:42 AM EST

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via Reuters

Naomi Osaka returned to the court earlier this year, after a hiatus in 2023 due to her pregnancy. She hasn’t been in her best form since then, yet she is stepping into the Indian Wells Masters and could be reunited with an old member of her team who had broken her trust. Sascha Bajin and Naomi parted ways in 2019 after she publicly announced the split with him. 

Recently, the German coach took to Instagram to reveal that he too will be stepping into the Indian Wells. He shared his story and captioned it, “Guys please forgive me but I have to cancel for tomorrow’s lessons at Kelsey Park 🙏🏼 Short notice call for me to go to Indian Wells. Please don’t be too upset with me, it’s just postponed 🙏🏼 and whoever wanted to come will have the chance to play with me for free during the Miami event #pinkypromise.” 

As Indian Wells is not a slam, speculations are that there could be a possibility of Naomi adding Sascha to her current team, as players have the advantage of changing coaches right before big events. While there is no confirmation about a reunion, it can be in sight.


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USA Today via Reuters

In his first year as a head coach on tour, Bajin has helped Naomi Osaka climb from No.68 to start the season to a career-high of No.7 following her maiden Grand Slam singles title at the 2018 US Open. Consequently, Osaka was the first Japanese player, male or female, to win a major singles title.

Osaka became the lowest-ranked player, the youngest (since Wozniacki at 2010 Beijing) and the first Japanese woman to win a Premier Mandatory-level title at the 2018 Indian Wells. Under Bajin’s tutelage, Osaka became just the 10th woman in history to win the US Open and Australian Open back-to-back and the first-ever Asian World No.1 (male or female) following her triumph at the 2019 Australian Open.

However in 2019, just after 2 weeks after winning in Melbourne, Naomi posted on X: “Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha. I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future.”  In a new biography of Osaka, journalist Ben Rothenberg claimed that she broke up with Bajin when she found out he was dating a competitor.

Rothenberg revealed this and said: “Naomi confronted Bajin, breaking the weeks-long silence between them, putting him on the spot about what she’d heard about his off-court relationship with another player. Bajin, who had encouraged Naomi to hit with this player at a tournament despite her much lower ranking, denied it repeatedly. The next day, when Bajin came back and admitted it was true, Naomi told him her trust had been broken.”


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While Osaka is struggling to gain her form, she might’ve called her old coach back. Osaka, who has not been able to keep her form up, is being hounded by tennis fans. However, a tennis veteran has her back.

Andy Roddick steps forward to defend Osaka

Despite Osaka’s four Grand Slam victories, her accomplishments are frequently overlooked. Andy Roddick was quick to notice this as he explained why Osaka’s legacy is taken for granted in the tennis world. On his podcast, Served with Andy Roddick, he mentioned, “I think if you had to script it as far as the rest of the year, I think it was actually a big result that I don’t, I don’t want to undersell just because kind of we take her greatness for granted and what it was but I think I think she’s on – if I’m her team I’m thrilled with where she’s at 100%.”


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Although she is facing difficulties, Osaka has great plans for the 2024 season. At the moment, she is looking to regain her form. Will she be able to win slams again?


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Written by:

Ripunjay Gaba


One take at a time

Ripunjay Gaba, a tennis enthusiast-turned-journalist at EssentiallySports, found his way from freelance sports journalism to the publishing house in ES. Here, his writing canvas encompasses the game specifics while finding poetic resonance in covering major sporting events. Ripunjay, a perpetual upgrader, uses avid reading to bring varied flavor to his Tennis reporting.
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Edited by:

Ananya Giri