Florida [UA]: World number one Naomi Osaka opened up about her split with coach Sascha Bajin ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships and said she does not want to put success over her happiness.
While asserting that she is not willing to torture herself by being surrounded with “certain people who make her unhappy,” the 21-year-old revealed that she was mulling about parting ways with her coach since Australian Open.
“I think during the Australian Open, I was just trying to tell myself to get through it. I’m not sure, but I think you guys noticed. The biggest thing is I don’t want myself to think to be successful I have to put success over happiness, because if I’m not happy being around certain people I’m not going to torture myself,” WTA quoted Osaka, as saying.
“Especially since Charleston and Beijing and stuff. So I’d rather just surround myself with people that I really like and that truly care about me and are just really positive. I think I’ve been able to do that. If I’m not waking up every day happy to practice and happy to be around the people I’m around, this is my life. I’m not going to sacrifice that just to keep a person around,” she added.
The two-time Grand Slam champion admitted that the upcoming tournaments, including Dubai Championship, are important for her, but was quick to add that having fun is the most important thing.
“Of course this tournament, the next few tournaments are going to be very important to me. Indian Wells is coming up. I know that I have to defend that. But, of course, one of my biggest goals is just to have fun,” Osaka said.
“I think I’m in a really good position right now. Last year I wasn’t even in the top 50, and now I’m No. 1. One of the biggest things is to just have fun with everything you’re doing, and I’m really happy to be here now. [The most important thing for me is] just to have a positive mindset. I don’t want someone that’s in the box saying negative stuff. That would be the worst,” she added.
Coming to Dubai, Osaka was accompanied by her father, fitness coach Abdul Sillah, physio Kristy Starr, and Japan Tennis Federation coach Masashi Yoshikawa. Osaka, however, clarified that Yoshikawa is not really her coach but someone who knows her game the best which is why she thought of bringing him along.
“Yoshikawa-san is not really my coach-coach. He’s just been helping me since I was 16. He’s one of the people that knows my game the most. He’s always around at certain tournaments, he’s always helping,” she said.
“I thought it would be a good idea for him to come here since I’m sort of stuck right now. This is the one tournament that I think I need someone around that’s very helpful,” she added.
Osaka will begin her campaign in the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships against Kristina Mladenovic of France on February 19.