23-Year-Old surging Tennis Star Naomi Osaka is breaking new ground in her sport. She is a two-time champion on the Ladies Professional Golf Tour (LPGA) and has established herself as one of the best female players in the world today. Still, it seems that her success hasn’t been far from the minds of her admirers. The former Wimbledon tennis champion has been lavished with all the accolades that women can get, but there’s no doubt that she remains a work in progress when compared to her rivals on tour. Here, we take a look at some of the reasons why.
Long before Serena Williams became a household name, Naomi Osaka had established herself as a top competitor both on and off the court. She made her first LPGA trip at just 18, and quickly made a name for herself by immediately becoming a favorite over top-tier competitors. After winning a pair of consecutive US Opens, this marked a high point in her career. Since then though, she’s consistently found herself unable to live up to expectations.
Her career thus far has been hindered by injuries. After injuring her foot during practice in January, she missed the rest of the season and was not able to fully recover before heading to Japan to compete in the WTA finals. When she returned, however, it was to find that the pain was so severe that she could barely walk. This followed a string of other injuries, including knee surgery and a shoulder dislocation.
While it may be natural to assume that these injuries are a direct cause of her recent struggles, they are part of the problem. Other issues also come into play. Osaka has sometimes struggled to be consistent on both sides of the court. During a recent stretch, she lost four of her last five matches. This run included two straight losses to top players like Kim Clijsters and Angelique Kerber.
Perhaps the biggest problem for the talented player is her mental approach to her job. For someone who has been a top player for such a long time, it’s hard to take criticism well. Injuries, playing with a bad back and other factors have taken their toll. Despite the criticism, the player has remained determined to improve her game and work on her mental weaknesses. That’s probably the biggest thing a player can do in order to rebound from an injury and turn things around.
If you’re an aspiring tennis player, there’s no better time than now to get out and start developing your game. Not only is the competition much greater than it was when you were just starting out, but the methods of developing your skills and becoming a better player are still very much alive and well. It’s just going to take some hard work and determination on your part. If you do that, you too can become a top player and win back the titles you’ve long dreamed of.