Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 October 2019

Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships to be Naomi Osaka's first tournament without Sascha Bajin as coach

World No 1 announces split ahead of the start of the WTA tournament this weekend in the UAE

Naomi Osaka with coach Sascha Bajin in January. Osaka has now announced she is no longer working with Bajin. Reuters
Naomi Osaka with coach Sascha Bajin in January. Osaka has now announced she is no longer working with Bajin. Reuters

Naomi Osaka has split from her coach Sascha Bajin just weeks after the 21-year-old added the Australian Open to her first grand slam at the US Open last year, the Japanese player announced Monday.

The world No 1 will play her first tournament since her success in Melbourne at the WTA Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships next year and it will be her first without Bajin in her corner.

"Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha. I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future," Osaka said on Twitter.

The coach also took to social media to comment on the matter.

"Thank you Naomi. I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this."

The US based player has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the big time after leaping from 72 in the world to number one in the past 12 months after beginning to work with Bajin in the off-season of 2017.

She became the first Asian to hold the top ranking after downing Czech Petra Kvitova in a tight final in Australia after beating Serena Williams in a memorable US Open final last year in which she won many fans for her grace under pressure.

By winning a second grand slam and becoming world No 1, she firmly established herself as at the forefront of the next generation of women players. And with that comes all-consuming attention.

Former greats Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert have all heaped praise on tennis' new star.

"Winning back-to-back grand slam tournaments is a rare and special achievement, and I'm thrilled these results have propelled Naomi to the top of the women's game," said Chris Evert, the first ever WTA world No.1.

"Her exciting brand of tennis, coupled with the dignity she displays on and off court, is a winning combination that tennis fans really embrace.

Updated: February 12, 2019 07:31 AM

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