Millennium Post

Win with Wim: New coach buoys Osaka's Aussie Open defence

Win with Wim: New coach buoys Osakas Aussie Open defence

Melbourne: Naomi Osaka had more coaches than she won titles last year but will be hoping that her latest trainer can propel her to a successful defence of her Australian Open crown.

The 22-year-old Japanese had a rollercoaster 2019, winning in Melbourne and topping the world rankings but then ploughing through three coaches before settling on Wim Fissette in December.

The 39-year-old Belgian has worked with a raft of former world number ones including Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka and Simona Halep.

At the Brisbane International last week, the world number three described what drew her to Fissette.

"(I wanted) someone that's calm and knowledgeable and can work with the team dynamic," said Osaka, beaten in the Brisbane semi-finals by second-ranked Karolina Pliskova.

"Because my trainer, my physio... I've had them for more than two years and they're like my family at this point," said Osaka.

"So I felt like anyone that I brought in now should be able to work well with them.

"I know that he's worked with a lot of top players and I feel like I'm learning from everything that he says, and I try to apply it."

Osaka's up-and-down 2019 started with a bang, beating Petra Kvitova in three epic sets in Melbourne for back-to-back Grand Slam titles, having triumphed at the 2018 US Open.

But two weeks later she abruptly ended her successful partnership with coach Sascha Bajin. Osaka cryptically said that she was not prepared to place "success over happiness".

Osaka, whose mother is Japanese and father Haitian, then teamed up with Jermaine Jenkins but their association lasted barely six months and coincided with a marked downturn in form.



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