Reigning champ Osaka heads to New York striving for form, fitness and fun

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TOKYO (Reuters) – It's been 12 months on a curler coaster for Japan's Naomi Osaka since her dramatic victory over Serena Williams within the US Open ultimate final yr.

Tennis – WTA Premier – Nature Valley Traditional – Edgbaston Priory Membership, Edgbaston, Birmingham, Nice Britain – June 20, 2019 Naomi Osaka of Japan in motion throughout their second spherical match in opposition to Yulia Putintseva Kazakhstan Motion photos through Reuters / Carl Recline

After securing his first inaugural Grand Slam in a ultimate that can at all times be remembered for Serena Williams' extraordinary struggle with the referee, Osaka turned the primary Japanese to say the primary world rating when she captured her second slam in January on the Open from Australia.

The rising star has grow to be the second highest paid feminine athlete on the earth, behind Williams, behind a collection of profitable sponsorship agreements.

However with the world of tennis at his toes, the 21-year-old had bother kicking.

A couple of tough months noticed her fail to win a event, lose her primary rating and crash into Wimbledon within the first spherical.

She talked about her social media issues earlier this month, and described the final months as "the worst of my life."

"I can replicate actually and say that I in all probability haven't had enjoyable enjoying tennis from Australia and I'm lastly coming to phrases with that whereas I study that enjoyable feeling once more," Osaka wrote.

Earlier than his protection of the US Open. Within the US, Osaka additionally suffered an damage, a knee downside that compelled her to retire within the quarterfinals of the Cincinnati Masters final week.

Osaka insists he’ll defend his title and says he would in all probability play in New York even in opposition to his physician's needs. [M1L8N25C4H3].

Osaka, who modified coach in February, has recovered the primary rating and shall be a match for anybody on the US Open if he’s in the proper bodily and psychological type.

A key problem for the Japanese shall be to take care of the inevitable questions concerning the finish of final yr, which left Osaka crying throughout the presentation ceremony.

A lot of the criticism of Williams targeted on how his actions had spoiled a valuable second for Osaka, who was even moved to apologize for beating the home favourite.

Since then, Williams apologized to Osaka, however that doesn’t imply he’ll take it simple on the Japanese if their paths cross once more in New York.

Of their first assembly since that notorious ultimate, Williams had little bother getting a straight set victory over Osaka within the semifinals of the Rodgers Cup in Toronto earlier this month.

Version by Peter Rutherfordpeter.rutherford@thomsonreuters.com; +822 6936 1482

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