Naomi Osaka says she's focused on Grand Slam title, not No. 1 spot after Indian Wells loss


Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka revealed after her Indian Wells Open defeat that she is focusing more on winning another Grand Slam title than regaining her former No. 1 ranking.

Key points:

  • Osaka, 26, lost 7-5, 6-4 to Belgian tennis player Elise Mertens, 28, in the third round of BNP Paribas Open, also known as the Indian Wells Open, in California on Tuesday.

  • The Indian Wells Open was Osaka’s fifth tournament since her return to the tennis court, starting with the Brisbane International in January after an 18-month hiatus, during which she gave birth to her daughter Shai. She then participated in the Australian Open the same month, followed by the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open and the Qatar Open in February.

The details:

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  • Speaking to reporters at the Indian Wells press conference after her third-round defeat, the four-time Grand Slam winner admitted that she is “not really chasing the No. 1 spot right now” and noted that was “never the reason” she returned to tennis. She continued, “I wanted to win more slams. That's why I came back.”

  • Before her comeback in January, Osaka was last seen on the tennis court during the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo in September 2022, where she had to withdraw from the competition after falling ill.

  • Osaka, who is currently ranked 287th in the Women's Tennis Association Tour world rankings, attained the top spot in the rankings on Jan. 28, 2019, where she spent 25 weeks as the women’s singles world No. 1 player.

  • Commenting about her performance on Tuesday, Osaka said that she tried “every possible way to get back in the match.”

What’s next:

  • After the Indian Wells Open exit, Osaka is now looking forward for Miami Open 2024, which kicks off on Sunday, March 17, with the women’s qualifying first round. The last time Osaka was at the Miami Open was in 2022 at the Hard Rock Stadium, where she finished runner-up.

  • Commenting about the road ahead, Osaka said, “I haven't eaten Haitian food in, like, three years, so I'm very excited to go back to Miami.”


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