‘Nobody acknowledged me as number one’ – Naomi Osaka on pressure of top spot

World number three Naomi Osaka says that her main goal is playing consistently well rather than chasing a return to the number one spot. 

The Japanese star became the first ever Asian player to reach the number one singles ranking after winning her second Grand Slam in a row at the 2019 Australian Open.

However, following a change to her coach and a few tournament withdrawals due to injury, the consistency of her season meant she went on to lose, regain and then lose again the number one spot throughout 2019.

Osaka has now revealed that becoming world number one added extra pressure to her game and wasn’t good for her mindset.

“I think nobody really acknowledged me as number one” said Osaka.

“It just made me think people don’t really see me as number one. I just kept trying to prove myself. I felt like that wasn’t really a good mindset to have.

“If it comes to the point where I’m able to be number one again, I’ll embrace it, but I’m not really chasing it like that anymore.”

Osaka instead believes that consistency is the key to success in the sport and has hailed fellow player Simona Halep as a good example.

The Romanian is currently World number two and has been ranked in the top 10 for 346 consecutive weeks.

Osaka said of Halep’s streak: “I think that’s incredible. I feel like I want to have that sort of consistency.

“My career, it’s been kind of up and down a lot, and people don’t really know when I’m going to do well in a tournament or when I’m not.

“I think my ultimate goal is just to at least reach the quarter-finals or better at every tournament I play, and hopefully win most of them.”

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