Martina Navratilova bluntly criticizes Naomi Osaka following Australian Open exit

Navratilova gave a brutally honest assessment of Osaka's performance after the Japanese's Australian Open loss.

by Dzevad Mesic
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Martina Navratilova bluntly criticizes Naomi Osaka following Australian Open exit
© Getty Images Sport - Phil Walter

Grand Slam icon Martina Navratilova gave a pretty brutal assessment of Naomi Osaka's Australian Open performance, grading it as "a C" and criticizing the Japanese for returning while "clearly being out of shape."

Osaka, 26, went down to Caroline Garcia in the Australian Open first round with a 4-6 6-7 (2) loss. For four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, it was her first Grand Slam match since returning from pregnancy. 

Navratilova, a former 18-time Grand Slam champion, acknowledged that Osaka was competitive against 2022 WTA Finals champion Garcia. However, Navratilova also underlined that Osaka wasn't able to play her best tennis due to being out of shape. 

“Tennis-wise, it was maybe a B-plus performance. But overall a C, because she couldn’t get to the ball that she wants to hit because she is not in shape,” Navratilova said on Tennis Channel.

“I am surprised that she started playing, that she got on the tour that she played this tournament without clearly being in the tip-top shape she needs to be in order to put herself in the position to hit the big, big balls.

“She was stretched out way too much and the fact that she didn’t have a break point tells you all you need to know about that match.”

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Phil Walter
 

Navratilova: Osaka gave birth, but that's not an excuse

Further assessing Osaka's performance, Navratilova urged the former world No. 1 to "get more fit." 

Also, Navratilova told Osaka that the fact she is returning after giving birth can't be an excuse. While making her point, Navratilova used Elina Svitolina as an example, stating that the Ukrainian "looked a lot better right off the bat" when she launched her post-pregnancy comeback last year. 

Meanwhile, Osaka admitted she was "a little frustrated" because she didn't do better for her daughter Shai, who stayed home in the United States. However, Osaka wasn't negative about her performance against Garcia, saying she felt that "I did the best that I could possibly do."

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka© Getty Images Sport - Phil Walter
 

Now, Osaka will likely turn her preparations for the Middle East swing in February. Osaka hasn't yet been announced for any of the upcoming tournaments in February, but since pretty much all top players compete in the Middle East in February, the former world No. 1 will also likely return to action there. 

Martina Navratilova Naomi Osaka Australian Open
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