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Naomi Osaka Is Ready to Embrace the Good and Bad of Clay


By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday April 27, 2022

Naomi Osaka has made it a point to embrace the process of improving her clay game in 2022, and she tells reporters that she is excited to play her first match on the surface at Madrid, where the wild card will face Istanbul champion Anastasia Potapova in the first round.

Tennis Express

Osaka, who spent a week in Mallorca training prior to this week, says she is learning to accept her mistakes on the surface. She feels it is a key element of the process.

"I’m trying to embrace my mistakes compared to the previous years as well, so I’m not that hard on myself," she said, according to WTA Insider. "If I make a mistake or if I don’t move up to the ball fast enough – because I find on clay you actually have to move much more – but if I do stuff like that I just tell myself not to be mad. I’m still a student so I should try to keep learning.”


Osaka is keen on learning by osmosis as well. She says she likes to watch the King of Clay Rafael Nadal practice, and feels that it will actually help her game to watch top players train on the red clay.

"Honestly I’ve been wanting to watch the really good clay-court players practice because I feel like I’m the type of person that learns really fast if I see it up close, and honestly it’s a bit of a waste to have all these really good professional tennis players and not watch them,” she said.

Staying in Touch with a Therapist

Osaka has also been keeping in touch with a therapist. After her difficult experience with a heckler at Indian Wells, she made the decision to initiate that process last month, and she has continued to explore her relationship with a therapist.

“I talk to my therapist, at least once a week, I’m just trying to be more open to things that happen out of my groove and focus to try my best,” the four-time major champion told the media on all-access day at Madrid.

Osaka has a 20-15 main draw record on clay and has reached just one semifinal in her career on the surface. Her best season on clay was 2019 when she reached the semifinals at Stuttgart followed by last eight appearances at Madrid and Rome.

Last year she went 2-2 on the surface before pulling out of Roland Garros due to mental health issues.

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