Osaka explains why she parted company with German coach

Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka remains No.1 in the latest women’s tennis world rankings, while Serena Williams is back in the top 10.

And Osaka was adamant that her split with coach Sascha Bajin had nothing to do with money.

Photo: Andy Cheung/ArcK Images/ Tennis Magazine/International Sports Fotos

The 21-year-old said it was because she was determined that her career would not be about putting “success over happiness”, according to a Reuters report today.

Coach Sascha Bajin and players box celebrate as Naomi Osaka beats Lesia Tsurenko in the US Open.
Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

Bajin had taken Osaka to consecutive grand slam titles as well as to the WTA rankings top spot but the split led to rumours the two had fallen out over money.

“Everyone thinks it was a money-related issue, but it wasn’t,” Osaka said.

“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 do that to them.

“My reason is I wouldn’t put success over my happiness; that’s my main thing.”

Bajin, a former hitting partner of Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki, was named as the WTA’s coach of the year in 2018.

Ladies singles Final Naomi Osaka and Petra Kviyova  embrace after final.  Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

During their time together, Osaka rocketed from 72nd in the world at the start of 2018 to the top of the rankings last month.

But Osaka said things were not right between them during the season’s opening major.

“It was kind of brewing in Australia. I think some people could see that if they saw how we interacted,” she said.

Naomi Osaka at Brighton Beach for the trophy photo shoot after becoming the Women’s Singles Champion of 2019 Australian Open Tennis Championship. Photo:Andy Cheung/ArcK Images/ Tennis Magazine/International Sports Fotos)

“I would not want to split on really bad terms. I’m not going to say anything bad about him because, of course, I’m really grateful for all the things he’s done.

“I’m not sure but I think you guys noticed.”

The move hasn’t prevented her from retaining No.1 spot in the rankings, with 6970 points – comfortably ahead of Simona Halep who has moved up a place to second on 5537. Former No.2 Petra Kvitova slips two spots to fourth.

The 23-time grand slam champion Williams gains one place from 11th to 10th at the expense of Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki who tumbles to 14th.

Novak Djokovic  celebrates after he beats Rafa Nadal in Mens singles final in straight sets. Photo Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd

In the men’s ATP rankings, Novak Djokovic stays on top of a largely unchanged top 10.

The Serb leads on 10,955 points, comfortably ahead of Spain’s Rafael Nadal on 8320.

The only move in the top 10 is by Japan’s Kei Nishikori who jumps Swiss great Roger Federer into sixth place.

20, Frenchman Gael Monfils rises 10 places to 23rd after Sunday’s Rotterdam victory over Stan Wawrinka.


(previous ranking in brackets):
* 1. (1) Naomi Osaka, Japan, 6970 points
* 2. (3) Simona Halep, Romania, 5537
* 3. (4) Sloane Stephens, USA, 5307
* 4. (2) Petra Kvitova, Czech Republic, 5120
* 5. (5) Karolina Pliskova, Czech Republic, 5055
* 6. (7) Elina Svitolina, Ukraine, 5020
* 7. (6) Angelique Kerber, Germany, 4960
* 8. (8) Kiki Bertens, Netherlands, 4885
* 9. (9) Aryna Sabalenka, Belarus, 3565
* 10. (11) Serena Williams, USA, 3406.

* 1. (1) Novak Djokovic, Serbia, 10,955 points
* 2. (2) Rafael Nadal, Spain, 8320
* 3. (3) Alexander Zverev, Germany, 6475
* 4. (4) Juan Martin del Potro, Argentina, 5060
* 5. (5) Kevin Anderson, South Africa, 4595
* 6. (7) Kei Nishikori, Japan, 4190
* 7. (6) Roger Federer, Switzerland, 4100
* 8. (8) Dominic Thiem, Austria, 3800
* 9. (9) John Isner, USA, 3225
* 10. (10) Marin Cilic, Croatia, 3140.