Osaka ready to overcome 'mental challenge' of clay season
Ever since she started playing tennis Naomi Osaka has been a stellar performer on the hard courts but her clay struggles have been well document. Now after another victory on the hard courts, she is looking to extend that to the clay season. Speaking to the WTA Insider podcast she was asked what she felt after another victory:
"I think the overwhelming feelings for me, just after winning New York, I really wanted to start the year off really well. And I don't think that there's a better tournament to win than this one."
She was also asked what makes her a consistent hard court performer:
"I think on clay, I feel like I don't play bad. I honestly thought I played pretty well last year. I just didn't go far in the Grand Slam like everyone expected me to. But I think that's also a process."
She further elaborated that she believes she will become really good on other surfaces as well:
"I feel like I have everything that I need to do well on clay and on grass, but it's just [about] feeling comfortable. I don't think I feel totally comfortable on either surface because I didn't really play on red clay or grass growing up and I've played on hard basically my whole life. So, yeah, just more experience."
The interviewer asked her if there was a mental thing about clay to which Osaka responded affirmatively:
"I think definitely it's a mental thing. I know that the last time I played in the French Open, I lost to Siniakova, but I had opportunities. I really remember thinking I was able to win that much, but in the end, it didn't go my way. I think that the more I play on it, the better I'll get."
To conclude she was asked about her plans going forward and she was unsure at the moment:
"Honestly, I'm not really sure. I feel like there are so many things that are happening in the world. You can never really be too sure about anything schedule-wise."