Australian Open 2021: Naomi Osaka says she’s ‘not likely chasing’ primary spot, eyes consistency

Australian Open 2021: Naomi Osaka says she’s ‘not likely chasing’ primary spot, eyes consistency

Regardless of her heady rise, Osaka mentioned changing into world primary felt barely underwhelming, and introduced additional strain.

Australian Open 2021: Naomi Osaka says she’s ‘not really chasing’ number one spot, eyes consistency

Naomi Osaka reached the semi-finals of the Gippsland Trophy — a tuneup occasion forward of the Australian Open — earlier than withdrawing resulting from a shoulder harm. AP

Melbourne: Naomi Osaka insisted Saturday she wasn’t consumed by returning to world primary, revealing her prime precedence was higher consistency as she eyes a second Australian Open title.

The world quantity three is broadly seen as a frontrunner at Melbourne Park, having gone 14 matches unbeaten — together with the US Open closing — earlier than withdrawing from her Gippsland Trophy semi-final in opposition to Elise Mertens with a shoulder harm.

Three-time Grand Slam winner Osaka reached the rankings summit two years in the past when she defeated Petra Kvitova to win the Australian Open and turn into the primary Asian participant to take the highest spot.

Regardless of her heady rise, the 23-year-old mentioned changing into world primary felt barely underwhelming, and introduced additional strain.

“I believe no one actually acknowledged me as primary,” mentioned the Japanese star, who was carrying glasses, an orange beanie and Los Angeles Lakers apparel in her press convention.

“It simply made me assume individuals do not actually see me as primary. I simply saved making an attempt to show myself. I felt like that wasn’t actually mindset to have.

“If it involves the purpose the place I will be primary once more, I will embrace it, however I am not likely chasing it like that anymore.”

Osaka, as an alternative, hoped to be a extra constant performer on the tour and gained inspiration from world quantity two Simona Halep, who has been ranked within the prime 10 for 346 consecutive weeks.

“I believe that is unimaginable,” she mentioned of Halep’s streak, which is the eighth longest in WTA historical past. “I really feel like I need to have that type of consistency.

“My profession, it has been form of up and down lots, and folks do not actually know when I’ll do nicely in a match or after I’m not.

“I believe my final aim is simply to at the least attain the quarter-finals or higher at each match I play, and hopefully win most of them.”

Despite the fact that she’s going to enter the Australian Open as a favorite, Osaka admitted to nerves forward of her first spherical conflict in opposition to Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.

“I’ll really feel very nervous as a result of that is what’s all the time going to occur to me,” she mentioned.

“However I believe the way in which that I am taking part in now, the way in which that I used to be capable of play my matches that I had the previous couple days, it provides me a whole lot of confidence.”

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