Published On: Tue, Jan 16th, 2024
Sports | By

Martina Navratilova slams ‘out of shape’ Naomi Osaka despite recent baby | Tennis | Sport


Osaka gave birth to Shai in July and made her comeback this year in the buildup to the Australian Open. After 15 months out, Osaka beat Tamara Korpatsch in the Brisbane International. 

Despite a positive return, the 26-year-old lost in the second round to Karolina Pliskova. Osaka went straight into the Australian Open and lost 6-4, 7-6 on Monday.

Tennis legend Navratilova was not sympathetic at all to the returning mother and blasted the Japanese star for being out of shape. 

Appearing on the Tennis Channel, she said: “Tennis-wise, it was maybe a B-plus performance. But overall a C, because she couldn’t get to the ball. She’s not in shape.

“I’m surprised she played this tournament without clearly being in the tip-top shape she needs to be in. She was stretched out way too much and she didn’t have a break point. That tells you all you need to know about that match.”

Navratilova continued: “Most of all, put in the yards on the court and off the court because the girls hit the ball too hard and you have to be quick off the mark to get to the ball to hit your shot”

The Czech former tennis star did note Osaka’s birth but pointed to Elina Svitolina, who returned in a slightly quicker timeframe. She added: “Svitolina did too and she looked a lot better.”

No one was harsher than Osaka herself following her first-round defeat. She even called herself delusional for thinking she had a shot of winning the Melbourne-based Grand Slam.

“Coming here and playing three tough matches I feel positive that I’m at least able to challenge,” Osaka said. “But the competitor in me is really frustrated that I’m not winning these matches of course.

“I wouldn’t say this comeback is how I thought [it would go] because I’m delusional enough to think I could have won the tournament and I think my delusion is what allows me to win tournaments.

“The competitor in me is not happy that I’m not winning these matches [but] I think I just need to work hard and play a lot more matches and then hopefully my dreams will come true.

“I thought it was a really good match for me and I felt like I did the best that I could possibly do. I mean, I still feel like a bit disappointed – I don’t know if I’m disappointed in myself – I don’t think that’s possible because I really feel like I couldn’t have done more with the circumstances. I thought I kept doing better as the match went on.”

Her winning opponent, Caroline Garcia, was full of praise, unlike Navratilova. “She’s had an amazing career. She was away for 15 months. She’s been through a lot,” she said. “She’s a great girl and she’s done so much for our tennis in the last few years. Six months after giving birth she’s playing amazing already. We have to watch out.”





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