Naomi Osaka Continuing Her 2019 Campaign Without Sacha Bajin

2019 Australian Open, Naomi Osaka
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26: Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a backhand to Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during day 13 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Naomi Osaka is the biggest name in female tennis at the moment, and to be fair she deserves it. It’s old news now, but let me remind you, she won US Open and Australian Open, which means she is the No.1 in Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) ranking with only 21 years of age! But if her impressive performances in 2019 are not enough of a reason to talk about her, she got even more media attention when she decided to split up with her coach Sascha Bajin, who was her coach during her impressive US Open and Australia Open title wins. In this article we will check why we believe the “split” between Osaka and Bajin happened and our thoughts on it.

2019 Australian Open, Naomi Osaka
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 26: Naomi Osaka of Japan hits a backhand to Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during day 13 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

It was a shock to everyone when it was announced that Naomi Osaka and her coach Sascha Bajin decided to split up. After being her coach for a year during which Osaka won 2 grand slams, the news were surely surprising for many, even myself. I believe I was not the only one who asked himself; “If Bajin managed to bring her 2 grand slams, why would she replace him?” And i’m still asking myself that. The news were announced on Twitter and since then we did not receive any other statements, so we are basically guessing why it all happened. And guessing is all I can do here, so let’s try to figure out the story behind it from the information we have.

First of all, let’s ask ourselves why did Osaka even hire Bajin as her coach? It could be his experience or maybe it’s the fact that he was a hitting partner for Serena Williams for 7 long years, in addition to being a hitting partner for Victoria Azarenka, Sloane Stephens and Caroline Wozniacki. In his time as hitting partner for Serena, she won 13 Grand Slams and got a gold medal at Olympic games in Beijing and London. As for other two tennis players; Azarenka won 3 titles and Wozniacki won 2 titles. But why does it matter who was his hitting partner? The answer is simple. It can give Osaka better insight into how those world-class tennis players play and what are their weaknesses. It’s somewhat a “sneaky move” to pick out the brains of Beijing, but then again nothing unusual in the world of Tennis.

This approach paid off for Osaka, who managed to defeat Serena Williams in straight sets in Miami (2018) and again in the finals of the US Open. After a short run of bad form, Osaka returned to win the Australian Open, which made her the first back-to-back champion since Williams in 2015.

So why exactly did Osaka and Bajin part their ways after such a huge success the Japanese tennis player had with him?

What is interesting about this breakup, is that it happened all of a sudden. Only weeks prior Bajin and Osaka praised each other, saying how happy are they to have such a coach/player by their side. It all seemed fine, but then… a tweet from Osaka in which she stated “Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha. I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future.”Bajin responded with “Thank you Naomi. I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this.”. The way it all happened stirred a lot of attention from media all over the world and with the wave of all the news and speculations even caught my attention.

The Japanese media have their own speculations. They state Osaka and Bajin did not agree on some of his techniques, which slowly drew them apart. It was also said, Osaka even practices alone, however, I am a bit sceptical about that one. While those speculations can be true, there is also a possibility this was all a confidence “issue”. With such a rapid improvement of this Japanese prodigy and all the spotlights on her, she surely is confident, maybe even too confident, which can grow into a so-called celebrity virus. Again, those are just my speculations, but there is one thing I am sure of, it was her call. Why I am so sure of it is because being a coach in tennis, especially at such a high level is not easy. And while it’s not easy being one it’s even harder to find a job. In that regard, why would Bejin resign as a coach? It’s unlikely.

As we wait for more news regarding the departure of Bajin and Osaka, we can only wander in the dark, looking for a reason we believe is the real one. At the end of the day the fact Osaka and Bajin parted their ways is not as ground-breaking. In the history of the sport many grand slam champions parted their ways with the coaches so from that perspective it’s not unusual.  What is unusual is the way it all happened and the timing of it.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.