‘She Has to Want to Play More’ – American Doubles Legend Criticizes Naomi Osaka’s Lack of Interest as She Cites an Inspirational Serena Williams Example

Published 09/30/2022, 3:47 PM EDT
Aug 16, 2022; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Naomi Osaka (JPN) returns the ball in her match against Shuai Peng (CHN) at the Western & Southern Open at the at the Lindner Family Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports

The Japanese tennis player, Naomi Osaka, is having a disappointing season so far. She has been knocked out in the initial rounds of most of the tournaments she has participated in. Osaka has been struggling with injuries as well this season. She suffered a similar fate in the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, as she withdrew due to injury after her first-round match victory.

Osaka’s poor form drew the attention of the former doubles World No. 1, Pam Shriver. The former American player advised her to draw inspiration from Serena Williams to rediscover her peak form.


Article continues below this ad

Pam Shriver advises Naomi Osaka to take inspiration from Serena Williams

The former American tennis player, Pam Shriver, recently got featured in a podcast, where she talked about Osaka’s form during the season. She further talked about the Japanese star’s performance at the US Open.

She stated, “Listen, it was a tough draw to play (Danielle) Collins first round. Naomi didn’t play badly and I was texting Stuart, her business partner like, ‘you gotta play more!’, and it’s like, ‘okay but she has to want to play more. I’d like to see her play a couple more tournaments before the end of the year. Naomi might learn a little bit.”

The former US Open champion, Osaka, was knocked out of the first round of the US Open by the American Danielle Collins.


Naomi Osaka’s Noble Initiative to Uplift Girls Through Takes a New Shape in Tokyo

4 months ago

Shriver further went ahead and said that Osaka needs to participate in more tournaments to rediscover her peak form. She also gave an example of Serena Williams, who won the Australian Open in 2007 after struggling with injuries in the previous seasons.


Article continues below this ad

She stated, “Reflecting back on some of Serena’s long journey, when I think back to how Serena was able to win the 07 Australian Open, outside the Top 70, unseeded, out of shape, hadn’t played any matches, and then worked her way into form. Really, the best way to do that is just to play matches. You get sparks of motivation by seeing glimpses of your best self and then that makes you want to go out and work harder,” 

Osaka’s best performance of the season

Despite her struggles with injuries, Naomi Osaka performed brilliantly at the Miami Open. She started the tournament with some solid performances as she defeated the German tennis player, Angelique Kerber, in the initial round of the tournament. She went on to defeat the American tennis players, Alison Riske-Amritraj and Danielle Collins, in the round of 16 and quarter-finals round of the tournament.


Article continues below this ad

Osaka then defeated the Swiss star, Belinda Bencic, to reach the finals of the Miami Open. However, despite her brilliant performance, Osaka was defeated by the world No. 1, Iga Świątek in the final.

Watch This Story: When Serena Williams had a hilarious challenge for Naomi Osaka’s former coach



Anurag Gusain

435 articles

Anurag Gusain is a Tennis Author at EssentiallySports. He has completed his Bachelor’s degree in English from Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, Delhi University. Being a huge tennis fan, he enjoys watching superstar Rafael Nadal play.

Edited By: Tony Thomas