Patrick McEnroe: Naomi Osaka was born to play tennis but she is not Serena Williams



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Patrick McEnroe: Naomi Osaka was born to play tennis but she is not Serena Williams

Patrick McEnroe thinks Naomi Osaka definitely has a God-given talent for tennis but noted the Japanese "is not Serena Williams" and therefore cannot allow herself to be a part-time player if she wants to be successful. Osaka, 25, hasn't played that much ever since she went public with her story about battling anxiety and depression during the 2021 French Open.

Last year, Osaka appeared in a total of 11 tournaments. At the start of this season, Osaka is not playing and she has also withdrawn from the upcoming Australian Open. “You can’t be a part-time player in your early to mid or even late 20s today.

Naomi is not Serena. She (Williams) is one of a kind with a unique ability, and the confidence to do it. There’s no doubt that [Osaka] was born to play tennis. You can hear it in the sound of how she hits the ball," McEnroe told Peter Bodo of tennis.com.

What will happen with Osaka's career?

In early 2021, Osaka captured her fourth Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. At the time, Osaka was 23 and already a four-time Grand Slam champion. Osaka's career was trending in a great direction and some felt Osaka was on her way to winning at least 20 Grand Slams.

But two years have passed since Osaka's Australian Open triumph and she hasn't won any titles since. Martina Navratilova, one of the greatest players in tennis history, recently said "outside forces" are probably the cause of this Osaka situation.

"She’s a very unique case, in every way. So maybe you need to deal with it uniquely. Maybe she doesn’t have to play all those matches, but she certainly has to play more than she has played. With her, it seems to be the forces outside tennis are affecting her more than anything else," Navratilova said of Osaka while speaking to the WTA website.