Naomi Osaka shares outstanding grass advice given by Novak Djokovic before Wimbledon

Osaka wanted some advice from Djokovic before returning to Wimbledon.

by Dzevad Mesic
Naomi Osaka shares outstanding grass advice given by Novak Djokovic before Wimbledon
© Getty Images Sport - Michael Reaves

Naomi Osaka shares she reached out to Novak Djokovic for some grass tips and the Serb had a great answer to one of her questions, telling her that she should not feel afraid of potentially slipping and hurting herself because that will prevent her from doing well. 

Even when Osaka was in her peak form and a four-time Grand Slam champion shortly after turning 23, she wasn't considered a strong grass-court player. But after missing the entire 2023 season due to pregnancy and returning to tennis at the start of this season, the now 26-year-old Japanese came back determined to figure out playing on grass. 

And ahead of this year's Wimbledon - which will mark her first appearance at The All England Club since 2019 - former world No. 1 Osaka messaged Djokovic, who is a seven-time champion at The Championships and certainly knows a thing or two about playing on grass. 

"I tried to slide on grass. I asked Novak how he did it. I have tried a few times but it has been scary. I think I may have to wait for the grass to get brown a little. But he told me no matter if he falls he keeps getting up and doing it. He said I have to overcome the fear of getting hurt," Osaka revealed.

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

On Monday, Osaka will start her fourth Wimbledon main draw campaign by taking on world No. 53 Diane Parry. If Osaka gets a win, it will be a memorable moment for because her daughter Shai is set to celebrate her first birthday on Tuesday and the Japanese tennis star wants to be still in the Wimbledon draw when that special days happens. 

"She's one on Tuesday so it will be very exciting day. It's been a great journey and I'm lucky and blessed to have happy girl with lots of energy. It's a dream to be here with her now," Osaka said.

Osaka feels she would have made a deep French Open run had she beaten Iga Swiatek

At this past French Open, Osaka was the closest to beating Swiatek as the former world No. 1 was 5-2 up over the current world No. 1 in the third set of their second-round match and also had 0/30 on the Pole's serve. But then, Osaka missed out on two match points as Swiatek went on to complete a 7-6 (1) 1-6 7-5 win and win the French Open after not dropping a set in the remainder of the tournament.

For months, Osaka was talking about her desire to return to beating the top players and winning Grand Slams. And now, she feels she would have probably had a deep run at Roland Garros had she managed to overcome Swiatek. 

"It's a little weird as I feel I have been playing really well this year but just not making a lot of quarter-finals," said Osaka.

"I feel that had I not played Iga, I could have gone a long way in Paris. I just need some luck."

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka © Getty Images Sport - Dan Istitene

Swiatek had some selected words for Osaka after their match

As mentioned above, only Osaka was a real threat to Swiatek at this past French Open and no one besides the Japanese came even close to beating the Pole. 

After surviving the Osaka challenge, Swiatek was spotted crying in the locker room and later she had some big words for the Japanese four-time Grand Slam champion. 

"Naomi played great today. I have a lot of respect for her comeback. Also because of the things she's always struggled with. But there's also another thing, she's a mother, and I guess I've never found myself in such a situation, but I guess it's difficult to combine those two things and come back after maternity leave. So yeah. I'm happy that she's back," Swiatek said of Osaka in Paris.

"Honestly, I just think about the journey that she's been on. because her tennis deserves to be on the biggest stages. She deserves to be there, because she has great tennis. It certainly hasn't been easy for her, but if she plays better and better it will mean that she has worked to improve it's fair when you work hard and you know you'll see it in the results." 

Naomi Osaka and Iga Swiatek
Naomi Osaka and Iga Swiatek© Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

Before coming to Wimbledon, Osaka reached the 's-Hertogenbosch quarterfinal in her first grass tournament since 2019. But after a great start to the grass season, Osaka got bounced by world No. 8 Zheng Qinwen in the Berlin first round. 

However, in her Wimbledon presser, Osaka also said she was feeling positive about her grass game despite losing to Zheng in the Berlin first round in her last pre-Wimbledon tournament.

Naomi Osaka Novak Djokovic Wimbledon