Osaka's enthusiasm to play is beautiful to see - coach

Coach Wim Fissette says Naomi Osaka is a great thinker on the tennis court.

Published : Feb 19, 2021 08:59 IST

Osaka at a training session in Melbourne on Friday- GETTY IMAGES
Osaka at a training session in Melbourne on Friday- GETTY IMAGES

Osaka at a training session in Melbourne on Friday- GETTY IMAGES

Maybe Naomi Osaka is winning because she has a positive attitude, or maybe she has a positive attitude because she's winning.

Either way, it's working. Osaka won her 20th match in a row when she beat Serena Williams in the Australian Open semifinals, and she'll play American Jennifer Brady for the championship on Saturday in Melbourne.

“When her attitude is good, her mind is very clear what she needs to do, what she wants to do," her coach, former Belgian player Wim Fissette, said Friday. "And then she plays well.”

Fissette has worked with Kim Clijsters, Simona Halep and Victoria Azarenka. He began coaching Osaka in 2019, and said she surprises him every day with how well she handles the pressure that accompanies success.

Osaka, 23, won her third Grand Slam trophy at the U.S. Open in September. The win over Williams left her on the verge of yet another major title.

“Naomi was excited before the match,” Fissette said. "She was like when I bring my kids to the toy store, you know? Naomi was excited to go on court with Serena.


“It’s just beautiful to see, because a lot of times you feel the pressure, like you kind of maybe fear to lose. But her mindset is just looking at the positives, like, ‘This is exactly where I want to be. This is what I train for. This is the moment where I want to play my best tennis.’”

Fissette also praised Osaka's mental approach regarding strategy. As an example, he said she noted that Williams' forehand return became inconsistent late in their match, and took advantage by serving to that side in the final game.

“That’s the best thing about Naomi,” Fissette said. “She’s a big server, she’s a big hitter, but she’s a lot more than that. She’s also a great thinker on the court.”

Sign in to unlock all user benefits
  • Get notified on top games and events
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign up / manage to our newsletters with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early bird access to discounts & offers to our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide to our community guidelines for posting your comment