The thought of Naomi Osaka, who is playing the Miami Open 2021, a tournament of which she is one of the main favorites, is very clear: being the new number one in the world is not one of her main goals, currently. She expressed it at the press conference: "I'm not snubbing the number one for having already got there, on the contrary, I would be clearly honored.
But my head starts not working properly when I think about what it could be. The only thing I have in mind is that I have tough games to play and win, one after the other, and clearly by getting to the bottom I could even become number one.
Today, however, I would not say that that is my goal. I have learned that not playing too much is the best choice for me, I'm not one who needs lots of games to get into the rhythm. On the contrary, I've seen how it works in reverse for me: I risk burning myself if I play more tournaments than I should."
Naomi Osaka and the fight for the world no.1
At the moment the ranking is led by Ashleigh Barty. To return to world no.1, Osaka will have to win the title from Maimi if the Australian gets to at least the semifinals. Otherwise, the Japanese would return to number one even as a finalist.
Arriving in the final, Barty would be certain to remain at the top of the standings. The throne of women's tennis has been a question between Barty and Osaka since the 2019 Australian Open, when Osaka first became the first Japanese number one.
Barty has been world no.1 since September 2019, for 69 weeks, 62 of which are consecutive. Over the course of her career she has won seven WTA titles out of eleven finals played, four of which are Grand Slam tournaments: she boasts the victory of two US Open in 2018 and 2020 and two Australian Open in 2019 and 2021.
Following the first Australian success, on 28 January 2019 it also reached the first place in the world ranking for the first time. Naomi was the first ever Japanese athlete to win a Grand Slam title, the third in the Open Era to qualify for the WTA Finals in 2018 and the first Asian ever to reach the top of the WTA rankings.