Naomi Osaka talks about being Serena Williams’ successor amidst a massive dip in form and results in this season

Naomi Osaka talks about being Serena Williams’ successor amidst a massive dip in form and results in this season

Naomi Osaka - IMAGO/Kyodo News, Serena Williams - IMAGO/Shutterstock

4-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka is currently in one of the worst patches of her career. Having won the 2021 Australian Open, a big season was expected from Osaka but mental health issues kept her away from the Tour and the last 15-18 months have not been good professionally for Osaka.

Once seen as the successor of Serena Williams, who retired at the 2022 US Open, Osaka recently gave her opinions on the subject. “I don’t think you can ever do that because everyone is unique, and we’re all forging our own paths and we’re all on our own journeys,” said Osaka as per Eurosport.

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“I was over trying to fill people’s shoes,”: Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams
Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams

Osaka opened up on her mental health struggles at the 2021 French Open and has not won a title since. She came close to a title at the 2022 Miami Open but Iga Swiatek got the better of her. With highly inconsistent results and early exits, Osaka admitted to going through a poor season.

“This year has not been the best year for me but I’ve learned a lot about myself. Life is ups and downs, and this year was more down than up, but overall I’m pretty happy with where I am now. It was kind of hard at first, just because I feel like I should be somewhere where I’m obviously currently not.

“I think for me it’s more about being at peace with myself. I know that I’m here for a reason,” said Osaka further as she has given up on “over trying to fill people’s shoes” and rather focus on herself and her personal growth both as a person and as a tennis pro.

Osaka will feature this week at the 2022 Pan Pacific Open in Japan, the WTA-500 event where she is certain to get massive crowd support. Osaka is also the defending champion this year at the tournament as the last edition was held back in 2019.

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