Belgian coach Wim Fissette says that for her age, Noami Osaka is one of the most ambitious players that he has worked with, in an interview to the WTA Tour website. The pair have begun working during the 2019 off-season and Fissette says he loves the fact that Osaka is ambitious.
"With a player like Naomi, you go to tournaments to win them, not to play finals or semifinals. That’s the ambition and I love that ambition. I love working under pressure. In general, I always feel like I worked better also under pressure.
I worked with many Top 10 players but there’s a big difference in ambition. You would expect it all to be the same but it’s not. I believe that Naomi is by far - not by far, Vika was very ambitious too - but Naomi, at her age especially, is super ambitious and has a lot of goals for her career."
Speaking about his assessment of Osaka's game, Fissette says, "I coached against her the last three, four years, with Angie at Wimbledon, with Vika in 2016 in Melbourne, also with Johanna Konta in 2017. I saw very good development the past years.
Her movement got a lot better the past years. It’s very clear that she loves the big stages, the big moments." After an early loss at the US Open, Osaka has turned her fortunes around - winning 14 matches in a row before her semi-final loss in Brisbane to Karolina Pliskova.
Fissette says the Japanese player, herself, has made changes to her approach and her game since the US Open. "It’s not like we had to change a lot. I would have changed a lot had I started after the US Open. But she made a big change there, she went back to using her strengths better in the Asian swing and she got her winning game plan back.
One of the goals was to perfect the serve a little bit, to improve a few percentages technically, to have a cleaner serve, a healthier serve. The serve is probably her biggest weapon, so that is always the biggest focus in training.
You need to keep working on the biggest strength. She’s different than I thought. She is, to me, a very intellectual player and person. She knows exactly what she’s doing and I think that helps her to be very cool at the most important moments.
She’s different than I thought. She is, to me, a very intellectual player and person. She knows exactly what she’s doing and I think that helps her to be very cool at the most important moments. It’s like she calculated exactly what she needs to do to win matches, and I believe that helps her.
So far, that’s my analysis after one month. That was a big surprise for me, the way she was calculating and stuff like that. There’s no different pressure for myself. I want to coach players to win Grand Slams and that has always been the ambition and it’s still like that.
Working with Naomi Osaka, the goal must be to become No.1 in the world again and to win a Grand Slam, more Slams. We’ll try to win every tournament we play and that should be the goal with a player of her level."