Briton Laura Penhaul knows Naomi Osaka very well, having worked with the Japanese star in 2017. In an interview, Penhaul said that Osaka wants to reach Serena Williams's achievements.
“That’s what she wants, the footsteps she wants to follow," said Penhaul. “Naomi has always idolised Serena, and when she beat Venus Williams in Hong Kong two years ago it gave her a lot of confidence, the feeling that she could do it against the top dogs.
The whole family have set out to follow the Williams model. Even her coach, Sascha Bajin, is Serena’s former hitting partner." On last year's US Open controversial final between Serena and Osaka, Penhaul added: “That was the hard thing.
It was so upsetting and emotional. It’s great that this time she could achieve the title on clear merit, so that it’s not overshadowed. For some reason, Naomi has had a belief that she is different to everybody else.
She always thinks she has a weird sense of humour. She blurts things out, sometimes they’re unexpected, but it’s a good sense of humour too. She has a lovely heart, and I think she is becoming more confident in who she is.
It’s nice to see the snippets that come through in her interviews. It takes time to build a rapport with Naomi, but they’re the sorts of things you see when you have known her for a while." ALSO READ: Rafael Nadal: Worse players than David Ferrer won a Grand Slam title