Martina Navratilova explains what Naomi Osaka needs to return to No. 1

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Martina Navratilova explains what Naomi Osaka needs to return to No. 1

Former world No. 1 Martina Navratilova absolutely thinks Naomi Osaka is still one of the best players on the WTA Tour but adds the Japanese just needs to play more frequently and build her confidence again. Osaka, who has plummeted to No.

78 in the world, hasn't played much since she abruptly pulled out of the French Open to address her mental health. Osaka, who played two events in Australia, is set to play her third tournament of the season in Indian Wells.

Navratilova was asked what can we expect from former world No. 1 Osaka at the Indian Wells Masters. "What’s her record for the last 12 months? [13-7 since winning the 2021 Australian Open]. That leaves you not match-tested.

She needs to enter more tournaments for that," Navratilova told the WTA website. "Match play – I think it’s the only thing preventing her from playing more and becoming No.1. Get the confidence, get the reps and work on the transition game where she’s more comfortable moving forward and finishing points at the net.

She does that and she’ll be good."

Navratilova: Iga Swiatek is a threat when she is on

One of the best stories of the 2022 season so far has been Swiatek becoming a dominant force on hard. Swiatek made back-to-back semifinals at the Adelaide International and Australian Open, before winning Doha.

Swiatek is definitely one of the favorites for the Indian Wells title. "I mean, when she wins, she wins big. She doesn’t putz around. She ran through the [2020] French without losing a set, she dominated in Doha … when she’s on, she’s on.

I think the conditions in Indian Wells are going to be similar to Doha. Slow conditions, even though the ball flies at altitude. Heavy conditions, so you have to hit through the court with a lot of power. She’s got a ton of topspin on the forehand, which paid off in Doha – and should pay off in Indian Wells as well," Navratilova said of Swiatek.

"Iga can win on any surface, including grass because she can get down low, she’s got a decent slice and that topspin works well, particularly on those slow, bitey courts like Indian Wells."

Martina Navratilova Naomi Osaka