German Fed Cup captain Barbara Rittner believes that Naomi Osaka ‘is in a class of her own’, and can soon achieve the status of Serena Williams on the WTA tour.
Osaka has impressed at the grand slams since the return of tour in August last year, with wins in Flushing Meadows and Melbourne Park taking her tally up to four.
After her win last month at the Australian Open, former tennis pro Barbara Rittner spoke of the former world number one in an interview, and was asked about whether Osaka could achieve the status of Serena Williams in the future.
“Naomi Osaka is currently in a class of her own with trainer Wim Fissette at her side on hard court,” she said.
“Nevertheless, she had to fend off match points against Muguruza. It could have been over for them early. It wasn’t a walk in the park.”
“The form of the day always plays a role here. As of today, she’s a better version of Serena Williams. Time will tell if she can show it for years.”
Rittner also said that she wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Osaka taking an early retirement in the sport, when talking about the influence of the big three on the ATP Tour.
“These players have lived extremely focused on their sport for almost two decades.”
“That an Osaka will say in a few years: ‘That’s it for me. Five Grand Slam titles are enough for me. Now I take care of other things in life,’ I wouldn’t rule out,” she concluded.
The Japanese star will surely be looking towards ending the year with a return to the world number one ranking, which she lost to Ashleigh Barty in September 2019.
After Miami points become the first to drop from players’ rankings, Osaka can focus on her least comfortable surface, clay, where there will be opportunities to pick up points.
For more exclusive content from Tennisbuzz, including news, features, trivia, promotions and more, please be sure to sign up for our newsletter below or via our home page.
Why not test your tennis knowledge by tackling one of our fiendish quizzes too?