Tennis legend Martina Navratilova thinks that Naomi Osaka’s ventures outside of tennis are largely to blame for the 25-year-olds recent poor form.
Osaka was last seen in September at the Japan Open which she was forced to withdraw from due to an abdominal injury and fans are eagerly awaiting her return.
Osaka burst onto the scene a little under a decade ago and has enjoyed notable success, reaching the world No. 1 spot and bagging four Grand Slams along the way.
However, the past two years have been something of a disappointment for Osaka as she has openly struggled with her mental health and various injuries, causing her to plummet to her current ranking of No. 42 in the world.
Recently announced as the highest-paid female athlete of all time, a significant amount of Osaka’s time is taken up by her endorsements and it is this, according to Navratilova, that is the problem.
‘’She’s a very unique case, in every way. So maybe you need to deal with it uniquely,’’ Navratilova said. ‘’Maybe she doesn’t have to play all those matches, but she certainly has to play more than she has played.
‘’With her, it seems to be the forces outside tennis are affecting her more than anything else. It’s baked in. How she’s set up her life with all those outside interests and influences and demands on her time greater than anybody else.
‘’If her priority is tennis, then step back a little bit. You don’t have to do it all. It has to suck your energy away from tennis.
‘’I’m all for broadening your horizons - I was never a one-trick pony - but tennis came first. It doesn’t mean training harder, necessarily, but maybe sometimes doing nothing at all. Put your feet up or go to the beach.’’
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