Naomi Osaka Begins Preparation to Seize the Missing French Open Crown

Published 04/21/2021, 3:10 AM EDT
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 10: Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates a point in her quarter final match against Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands during day five of the 2020 Brisbane International at Pat Rafter Arena on January 10, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)


With four Grand Slam titles under her belt, Naomi Osaka has proved in the last couple of years that she could be the rightful heir to the legendary Serena Williams. The fact that she is able to bounce back and clinch away the victory from opponents, especially in Grand Slams, is a remarkable proof of her talent.

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The Japanese player has already defeated the best in the world and is now looking to extend her dominance to various surfaces. She achieved all four Grand Slam victories on hard courts.

Mar 31, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a backhand against Maria Sakkari of Greece (not pictured) in a women’s singles quarterfinal in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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Naomi Osaka has a below-par record on clay

Osaka’s record on clay and grass isn’t looking great at the moment. Last year, she took a break from the clay-court season due to a hamstring injury post the US Open title. Even her clay-court numbers in 2019 weren’t that great either; she had 9 wins and 4 losses on the red-dirt that season.

With Roland Garros coming up, Osaka is looking to up her ante on clay as she has chosen to play the Madrid Open ahead of the French. In a video posted on her official Instagram account, the Japanese player was seen practicing on a green clay court. Osaka appears to be sliding well on clay and she captioned the post, “How fun.”

Green clay behaves differently than the traditional red-clay courts. While the red clay has a lot of bounce and less pace, the green clay courts are usually harder and a bit faster. The recently concluded WTA tournament at Charleston (also known as the Volvo Car Open) is played on green clay courts.

A strong player-field awaits Osaka at this year’s clay season

It only a matter of time before Osaka clinches a clay-court title. But there are a lot of clay-court specialists on the WTA tour with the likes of Simona Halep, Kiki Bertens, and Jelena Ostapenko aiming to get their first title of the year on red-dirt.

Even the likes of Petra Kvitova and world number one Ashleigh Barty are a bigger threat to Osaka on clay. Add this to the fact that the Japanese player hasn’t reached a single final on the surface before.

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With a powerful player field for the clay-court tournaments this year, Osaka might find it difficult to take home a title or two. Nevertheless, she has proved her resilience time and again and who knows, fans might have a new Grand Slam champion at the French Open.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

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