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The Telegraph

How Naomi Osaka grew to become essentially the most formidable power in ladies’s tennis

When Jennifer Brady walks out to face Naomi Osaka in Saturday’s Melbourne closing, she can be taking over the human equal of a System One automotive, in response to Osaka’s bodily coach Yutaka Nakamura. After all, any coach will naturally speak up his or her consumer – that’s simply a part of the job. However in Osaka’s case, the final fortnight has carried out a lot to assist Nakamura’s declare. At all times nifty across the court docket, she has added a brand new degree of dynamism to her recreation this 12 months – particularly when returning serve. Ranging from a wrestler’s crouch, Osaka has been shifting into her first step with such energy and stability that even Serena Williams – the most effective server the sport has seen – was damaged 4 occasions in 9 makes an attempt throughout Thursday’s semi-final. “Naomi is an unbelievable athlete,” Nakamura instructed Telegraph Sport in an unique interview. “She is explosive, agile, and that’s why I evaluate her to a System One automotive. Folks say that her 120mph serve and her forehand are her weapons, however I feel her pace could be a weapon too. “I labored with Maria Sharapova for eight years,” Nakamura added. “Maria constructed her legacy on the court docket. However with Naomi, it’s simply one other degree. As an athlete but additionally as an activist, she has a distinct voice and she or he has a distinct vibe. “After Sharapova, I assumed I had sufficient of travelling world wide and being with athletes one-on-one,” mentioned Nakamura, who joined Osaka’s camp in July. “I had devoted my life to the tour, and I didn’t see how anybody might go above and past Sharapova. However once I began working with Naomi, I assumed ‘It is a totally different expertise.’” Naomi Osaka unique column: ‘Why I exploit my voice within the battle for what is true’ If she will be able to overcome Brady – the 22nd seed from the USA – on Rod Laver Enviornment tomorrow, Osaka will transfer to 4 majors, one behind Sharapova on the chart. However these are very totally different tales. Sharapova’s titles had been unfold over 9 totally different seasons, and the pursuit of them ate up virtually the whole lot of her profession. Whereas Osaka appears like she is simply simply starting. Nonetheless inexperienced on grass and clay, she has received three of the final 4 hard-court slams. Worryingly for her rivals, she remains to be solely 23. Nonetheless inexperienced on grass and clay, she has received three of the final 4 hard-court slams – a statistic that she might enhance to 4 out of 5 tomorrow. Worryingly for her rivals, she remains to be solely 23. As a Japanese citizen who has lived within the USA for many of his life, Nakamura understands the strain between Osaka’s totally different ancestral heritages. He additionally makes use of his two languages to “draw on totally different elements of Naomi. When I’m attempting to fireside her up, I typically communicate English and typically Japanese. I’m nonetheless taking part in with it. “I feel that cultural variety is a present,” Nakamura added. “Japanese tradition may be very sturdy on self-discipline. Bodily, we are typically on the small facet. However Naomi has that mix, similar to Tiger Woods, who as soon as claimed he was ‘Cablinasian’. Her father is from Haiti and her mom is Japanese. “It’s fascinating to check her with Maria, who had that Russian mindset that ‘I’ll do no matter it takes.’ Naomi is extra introverted, however somebody with a whole lot of internal energy. Her capability to coach, the depth she will be able to deal with, goes above and past something I had anticipated.”

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