Dubai: New world No. 1 Naomi Osaka is in no hurry to get a new coach, at least not till she is done with this week’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship.
Osaka made headlines after splitting with coach Sascha Bajin a week after her second Major at the Australian Open last month.
The 21-year-old, who headlines the strongest field in the 19th year of the championships, clarified on Sunday that the parting was not because of the money.
“Everyone thinks it was a money-related issue, but it wasn’t. For me, that’s one of the most hurtful things I’ve ever heard. I travel with everyone on my team, I see them more than my family. I would never do that to them. I think my reason is I wouldn’t put success over my happiness,” Osaka clarified.
Joining forces with Bajin during the 2017 off-season, the Japanese of mixed parentage had climbed from outside the world’s top 70 to become the first Asian to reach the rankings’ summit. A quarter-finalist here last year, the top seed opens her account in the second round against Frenchwoman Kristina Mladenovic — an easy 6-1, 6-1 winner against Oman’s Fatma Al Nabhani.
One of the first things she expects after Dubai is to appoint a new coach. “After this tournament, I would want to start looking at options. It’s not really ideal to go to Indian Wells without a coach,” she said.
“For me, just to have a positive mindset. I don’t want someone that’s in the box saying negative stuff. That would be the worst. Yeah, someone that’s kind of direct, not afraid to say things to my face. I’d rather someone say it directly to me than go around my back. That’s one of the biggest things,” Osaka added.