Former world No. 3 Pam Shriver thinks even if Naomi Osaka starts playing again her best tennis it will only be on a hard court. Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam champion as she has two Australian Open and two US Open titles in her collection.
Osaka has never made it past the third round at either the French Open or Wimbledon. “First off, if she returns to dominance, it will still be only on a hardcourt. Which begs the question: Can you be a dominant player on one surface? Look at the greats of all time, Navratilova, Graf, Serena, Roger, Novak – it’s been a multi-surface dominance," Shriver told the WTA.
“The other big question: Can she return to her best physical and emotional condition? If she can, yes, she can be the dominant hardcourt player. I think missing Wimbledon last year, and because it was cancelled in 2020, when Osaka returns to a grass court it will be three years since she played a match on a grass court.
Three years away from your most insecure surface is … forever. Grass is going to be a tough go. “Clay is slightly less mysterious for her, but a challenge for sure”.
Osaka set for a return
Osaka didn't play any events in the rest of 2021 after suffering a surprise third round loss at the US Open.
Recently, Osaka admitted she lost the joy for tennis at some point. "I started to feel like that power was being taken away from me,” Osaka explained. “I wasn’t playing to make myself happy and I was more concerned about what would people say about me.
“I used to love the competition and just being competitive. Like if I were to play a long match, the longer it was the more fun it was for me. "And then I just started to feel – recently – the longer it was the more stressed out I became. But I just needed a break to go within myself."