“Would Prefer to Peak at French Open”: Naomi Osaka Following Her Mutua Madrid Open 2021 Exit

Published 05/05/2021, 2:23 AM EDT
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


The reigning Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka confessed that she is not a professional clay-court player. However, after her Mutua Madrid Open 2021 second-round exit, she intends on doing her best at the French Open.

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Despite the recent loss, the Japanese World No. 2 had effectively moved around in the red dirt. However, she failed to stay in the longer rallies and eventually lost to Karolina Muchova 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. The 23-year-old even received hate messages after the defeat.

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Naomi Osaka eyes improvement at Italian and French Open 2021

In the post-match interview, the 23-year-old Naomi Osaka revealed that the French Open is her ultimate target. She expressed that although other tournaments are lead-ups to Roland Garros, one does not want to lose at them either.

“I would say definitely everyone’s goal is to do well at French,” Osaka said. “And these tournaments are called warmup tournaments, and, of course, we all come here to win and do well at these tournaments too.”

Mar 29, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a backhand against Elise Mertens of Belgium (not pictured) in the fourth round in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

However, the four-time Grand Slam champion has her eyes fixed on Paris. “But I would prefer to peak at the French,” the Japanese claimed. “Maybe not do that well at the other tournaments and peak at the French than as opposed to winning this tournament and then kind of going downhill.”

Naomi confirmed her Italian Open participation and is looking forward to improving her results. Above all, it is about getting accustomed to the clay surface, and she is seemingly going in the right direction.

Naomi added, “But I feel all in all like I’m learning a lot. I learned a lot today, and hopefully, I can just keep practicing and keep applying and hopefully play more matches in Rome than I did here.”

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What are Osaka’s chances of winning at Roland Garros?

After her Australian Open triumph, Osaka has not shown the same tenacity to win matches. As a result, she suffered an early exit in the Miami Open and now in the Madrid Open.

Mar 31, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan reacts after missing a shot 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

Comparatively, Australian World No. 1 Ashleigh Barty has continued to excel at every opportunity. She is on a 14-match winning streak on clay and will face Petra Kvitova in the Madrid quarterfinals.

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Therefore, the Japanese ace has a long road ahead of her to become formidable at the French Open. But given her nature, she will put in the hours needed to become stronger.

Do you think Osaka can win another Grand Slam title this year?

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Purav Joshi

966 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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