The big news post-Australian Open was Naomi Osaka letting go of coach Sascha Bajin who helped lead her to back-to-back Grand Slam titles. The Japanese star make it sound like there was a personal conflict.
“It was kind of brewing in Australia. I think some people could see that if they saw how we interacted,” Osaka told the media in Dubai yesterday.
“I would not want to split on really bad terms, I think, because of course he was sort of the one that, like, made me open up more to people. I didn’t want it to be really, like, hard stopping.”
And she cleared up the rumor that it was about money.
“The main thing I know, everyone thinks it was a money-related issue, but it wasn’t,” she added. “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, like, do that to them.
“I think my reason is I wouldn’t put success over my happiness,” Osaka said. “I’m not going to say anything bad about him because, of course, I’m really grateful for all the things that he’s done.”
Since Bajin’s departure, Osaka’s been happy.
“I felt really happy. I’m surrounded by people that genuinely care. They have such positive energy. I’m really grateful for everyone that’s around me at this time,” Osaka said.
So one could read into that Bajin did not make her happy, did not care and did not have positive energy? Or her parents?
Osaka hopes to add a coach before getting to her Indian Wells title defense. And a coach that apparently isn’t like Bajin.
“I don’t want someone that’s in the box saying negative stuff. That would be the worst,” Osaka said.
“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.”
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