MADRID: Naomi Osaka has said she needs a break from tennis before the start of the Madrid Open this week when the world number one. 2 hopes to launch his clay court career.
Osaka has never won a WTA tournament on red soil while at the French Open, which starts next month, she has yet to make it through the third round.
The quadruple Japanese Grand Slam champion will be the No. second seed in Madrid, where she plays after taking nearly a month off after leaving the quarterfinals in Miami.
Her loss to Maria Sakkari shattered a 23-game winning streak and came after Osaka won the Australian Open in February to support their US Open triumph last year.
“After Miami I took a little break because I felt I needed to slow my mind down a bit,” Osaka said at a press conference Wednesday.
“I felt like I needed it because after Australia I had like a day off and then I immediately started working. It wasn’t tennis, but other stuff. To me, I just felt like the hard court swing, the Australian hard court swing plus Miami, was a bit compressed for me.
“I haven’t really had time to see my family because I haven’t seen them since Christmas before I went to Florida. I just wanted to hang out with them and relax a bit. “
Despite her success on hard courts, Osaka has yet to find her best on grass or clay, and she hopes to gain confidence and pace in Madrid, starting with her first-round match against compatriot Misaki. Doi.
Simona Halep, Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka are all in the half of the draw in Osaka.
“It’s exciting to get into clay swing because I haven’t won a clay tournament yet,” said Osaka.
“Even though it makes me a little excited, it also gives me a little stress because I really want to do well here.
“I do better when I’m not stressed out and tell myself that I have to win a tournament. But it’s really hard to fight that feeling when you really want something. “- AFP