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World number one Osaka in shock split with coach
© afp.com/Jewel SAMAD

World number one Osaka in shock split with coach

Published by , Monday 02/11/19 23:48

World tennis number one Naomi Osaka has split from her coach Sascha Bajin just 17 days after completing back-to-back Grand Slam victories at the Australian Open.

"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," the 21-year-old Japanese tweeted in a shock announcement.

Bajin, a former hitting partner to Serena Williams, responded: "Thank you Naomi. I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this."

Osaka, who became the first Asian to hold the top ranking after beating Czech Petra Kvitova in the Melbourne final on January 26, had worked with the German for just over a year.

No reason was given for the surprise decision to part ways, but Japanese media cited Osaka's management company IMG in reporting that there had been a breakdown in the player's relationship with the coach since the start of the year.

According to Japan's Nikkan Sports, some practice sessions with Bajin at the Australian Open lasted just 10 minutes and she sometimes hit without him being present.

Osaka, who is scheduled to compete in Dubai next week, began sounding out potential replacements late last year, local media reported.

The Japanese player captured her first Grand Slam crown by stunning Williams at last year's US Open in a final remembered as much for the American's astonishing rant at the chair umpire following a coaching violation.

Based in the United States, Osaka linked up with Bajin in late 2017 and enjoyed a breakthrough year, shooting from 72 in the world to the top of the women's rankings.

- Disbelief -

During that period she won the prestigious Indian Wells tournament before scooping her first major in New York, while Bajin was named WTA coach of the year.

Osaka's Twitter feed lit up in response to her announcement, with several memes expressing widespread disbelief -- including a shrugging Barack Obama, a confused Joey from American sitcom "Friends" and a Minions character screaming "WHAAAAT?"

Osaka, who grew up in the US and speaks little Japanese, melted hearts when she fought back tears after her emotional US Open win over her idol Williams as booing echoed around the stadium.

She won more fans with a nail-biting 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 win over Kvitova in the Australian Open final, after which Osaka sobbed tears of joy as the jeers were replaced by cheers.

Former greats Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert have all heaped praise on the new darling of women's tennis.

"Winning back-to-back Grand Slam tournaments is a rare and special achievement, and I'm thrilled these results have propelled Naomi to the top of the women's game," said Evert, the first ever WTA world number one.

"Her exciting brand of tennis, coupled with the dignity she displays on and off court, is a winning combination that tennis fans really embrace."

Source: AFP

Latest comments comments
Wtf..i wanted belarus in the finals
alihasan khan alihasan khan il y a 1 heure
Nadal balls clearly weaker, slow...that give Fognini time and space to attack
vanvinhaaa vanvinhaaa il y a 6 heures
Kyrgios is overrated
varun alluri varun alluri il y a 8 heures
Awesome Fabio! He's beaten Nadal on clay a number of times but this was the best... Well deserved title win!
Fred Phoesh Fred Phoesh il y a 9 heures
There are actually some similarities between Fabio Fognini and Nick Kyrgios in terms of behavior and talent. Both can blow hot and cold;both can play some outstanding tennis, to such an extent that they are able to beat top-ranked players;both are able to play go-for-broke type tennis, with nothing to lose. But both can be guilty of some unpleasant on-court behavior, like arguing with the chair umpire, so both can hot-headed. So, to some, they can be seen as tennis bad boys, but are supremely talented, and I definitely like them both. I don't approve of unsavory antics on the court, like smashing rackets and arguing with the chair umpire though. It would be refreshing to see new faces win at the grand slams, not just on the Masters 1000 tournaments.
humphrey.madlala humphrey.madlala il y a 10 heures
Great photo.
christinenelles88 christinenelles88 il y a 13 heures