Naomi Osaka has arrived at the Mutua Madrid Open with the aura of a player that reached the top of the world rankings intact, but also with the humility required to return to those heights through hard work and determination. Her final at the last WTA 1000 in Miami could be a promising sign for her clay swing.
The Japanese player, who reached the quarter-finals in the Caja Mágica in 2019, has set herself some clear goals. “Now I’m trying to win a tournament at this time. Of course winning matches until the French Open, reaching semis even here or in Rome, or hopefully winning”, explained Osaka at Wednesday’s Media Day.
The winner of four Grand Slams, two in Australia and two in the USA, has plenty of room for improvement on clay, which is why Osaka has been studiously preparing for her arrival at the event in Spain. “I was in Mallorca for a week and I trained on the red clay. So now I’m really excited to play my first match”, said the former-world No. 1, who will play her opener against a qualifier.
The 24-year-old player has a carefully-constructed plan for her adaptation and transition to the new surface. “I’m still working to look basically if I make mistakes or if I don’t move to the ball fast enough and now I’m doing it much more”, Osaka told reporters.
For Osaka, one of the keys to success is emotional stability and the current world No. 36 was very open about her work in that department. “I talk to my therapist, at least once a week, I’m just trying to be more open to things that happen out of my groove and focus to try my best”, said the six-time WTA winner.
— #MMOPEN (@MutuaMadridOpen) April 27, 2022