Naomi Osaka shocked the tennis world by parting ways with coach Sascha Bajin without any explanation earlier this month, just 16 days after her historic achievements of winning the Australian Open and reaching the No.1 ranking with Bajin’s help. Awaiting to kick off this week’s Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships campaign, the 21-year-old Japanese opened up about the split, which, as we supposed, happened because of personal reasons.
Osaka may still be young, but she’s not afraid to listen to her gut and make controversial decisions. When it comes to Bajin, the two-time Grand Slam champion didn’t say anything specific, but she admitted that she didn’t feel happy and comfortable around him any more:
If I’m not waking up happy to practise 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.
However, Osaka was sure that journalists in Melbourne could notice the relationship with Bajin was not blossoming at the time, despite their on-court success:
I think some people could see that if they saw how we interacted. I’m not going to say anything bad about him because, of course, I’m really grateful for all the things he’s done. 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.
Bajin and Osaka worked together for only 13 months, but during that short period Osaka rose from No.72 to No.1 in the world and won back-to-back Grand Slam titles. Osaka hopes she’ll find a new coach by the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, which starts on March 4th.