Tennis

Naomi Osaka hopes schedule tweaks bring more Grand Slams

Naomi Osaka dislikes long and busy stretches away from the comforts of home and so will plan the European portion of her schedule accordingly, in the hope of improving her title hopes at the French Open and Wimbledon.

Osaka, competing this week at the Miami Open near where she grew up, said that while she chases success relentlessly, she is still trying to shape her playing schedule to give herself the best chance of success.

"I'm not really sure what a normal schedule is, but I've never thought of myself to be the type of player that would play week in and week out," said Osaka.

"I get homesick quite often and it makes me kind of sad sometimes."

Japan's four-time Grand Slam champion collected her second US Open title last September and followed that up with a second triumph at the Australian Open last month.

The 23-year-old is the second seed in Miami and has a bye into the second round of the two-week tournament where she has a chance to unseat defending champion Ashleigh Barty as world No. 1.

BARTY ON THE ROAD

Barty is preparing to spend the rest of the season on the road as she embarks on her first overseas appearance since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Asked to comment on Osaka's form, the 24-year-old Australian revealed she had hardly watched the Japanese star - or any other player - during the last year.

"I don't watch a lot of tennis. I've probably seen all of 30 or 40 minutes of tennis over the last 12 or 13 months," she said.

The women's field in Miami was deprived of a star name, with Serena Williams' withdrawal due to oral surgery.

Elder sister Venus Williams crashed out at the first hurdle yesterday morning (Singapore time), losing 6-2, 7-6 (12/10) to Kazakhstan's Zarina Diyas. - AFP, REUTERS

Tennis