Naomi Osaka initially didn't plan to play in the Middle East, but she also didn't plan on losing early at the Australian Open.
The Japanese player had high hopes for her return Down Under, but ultimately, it didn't go the way she expected. She won a match in Brisbane and almost won the next one, but ultimately, she ended up with only one win.
The Australian Open didn't see her win a single match as Caroline Garcia beat her in straight sets. That loss was the reason Osaka opted to play in the Middle East.
Her coach explained to her that she needed matches, so she signed up to get more matches. The Abu Dhabi Open campaign wasn't that great, but she finally got a win at the WTA 1000 tournament in Doha.
It was an act of revenge against Caroline Garcia at the Qatar Open, the first good match she played this year. She's happy about it, and the decision to play the event now certainly doesn't look too bad.
"I think I decided that I was going to play these tournaments, like, a day after I lost in Australia, in Melbourne. It was kind of more like I had a talk with my team, and we sort of decided that it was probably better to play Abu Dhabi and Doha and kind of see how it goes with Dubai as opposed to just going and only playing Dubai."
On top of that, it's been a long time since Osaka last played in the Middle East, and she wasn't even aware of where it was in the schedule.
"I think it's been a long time since I have been on this side of the world, so I wasn't really aware of what weeks that Dubai and Doha are, and I didn't know Dubai was so close to Indian Wells now, so that was my bad (smiling). But, yeah, it was quite a funny conversation, but I'm glad to be here now, so..."