Osaka Looking For 'Ironic' First Clay Title During Tennis Comeback

Osaka Looking For 'Ironic' First Clay Title During Tennis Comeback

by Zachary Wimer

Naomi Osaka earned a good win at the 2024 Madrid Open, and now she's eyeing her maiden trophy on the surface.

Osaka came back to tennis with some serious ambition, and the ambition wasn't just to play tennis. She came back to win trophies, and one trophy that's missing from her cabinet so far is one on clay.

She's never been too fond of the surface and didn't play much on it, but she is determined to change that this time around. There are a couple of things she wants to do differently on her comeback, and being better on clay is high up there.

She made a good start at the Madrid Open by winning for the first time on the surface in two years. She didn't do that well in her first match back on clay in Rouen, but she has made huge progress already this week.

The conditions favor her style far better in the Spanish capital than on any other clay court, which she hopes helps her score a couple of wins. She would find it quite funny if her first trophy back from maternity leave was at a clay event.

"I would like to win a tournament on clay, I would think it’s very ironic but also hilarious if my first tournament (win back from maternity leave) would be clay."

"For me, every tournament I play I want to win. I know that results so far haven’t shown that but I really think that something’s going to click eventually and when it does, I think I’ll be really good."

It won't be easy for Osaka because her next opponent is Liudmila Samsonova, a very strong player capable of doing well on clay. She also has a powerful serve, which could give Osaka some trouble.

We've seen her struggle with her return in the past. She's certainly approaching this comeback humbly, which is great to see, as she could be over-confident, given that she's a former world no. 1 and a four-time major winner.

"But for right now, I’m just going to be as humble as I can. I’m happy to be in this tournament, I’m happy to be playing against the best players in the world and I learn from them every day."


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