October 7, 2019
Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic are emphatically back on song after worrying spells.
Meanwhile, Dominic Thiem was the other big star to lift an important trophy in the Far East.
It’s great to see such a talented trio realising their full potential once more.
We want all the big guns to be at the height of their powers because that’s what always makes for such a scintillating Wimbledon come summer.
Osaka won the US Open in 2018 and followed up in Australia at the beginning of this year.
But since then she has found life at the top increasingly difficult. So, it is wonderful to see her coping once more.
She downed three of the biggest names in the game to win The China Open.
First, she defeated Bianca Andreescu, who has seemed unbeatable of late. Then she brushed aside Caroline Wozniacki in straight sets.
And in the final, Osaka overcame Ashleigh Barty 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 to triumph in style.
She had already clinched the Pan Pacific Open in Japan; and now she is back up to third in the rankings.
At least if Osaka ever returns to world number one, she will stop beating herself up quite so much if she can’t be as invincible as Roger Federer or Serena Williams at their peak.
She explained: “I’d never been number one and a lot of people were talking about it and I think I let it get to my head a little bit.’
‘Just like, when you are number one, you’re not really supposed to lose…I felt like I should at least win a tournament every month or something.’
‘I know that’s crazy but I felt if Roger Federer could do it, I could do it…When Serena was number one, everyone knew that everyone else had no chance.’
‘It’s not even outside pressure, just pressure from myself.’
Sounds like Naomi is learning how to regulate that pressure, which will be great for tennis and very promising for Wimbledon 2020 too.
And Novak Djokovic, who won that amazing Wimbledon final against Roger Federer this summer, is back to his best too.
He won The Japan Open by beating John Millman 6-3, 6-2 and claimed the 76th title of his illustrious career.
‘I didn’t drop a set, so I played a fantastic tournament,’ said an ecstatic Novak after his success.
Meanwhile, Dominic Thiem gave himself even higher praise after he won The China Open by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
‘Honestly, I think this was one of the best matches I’ve played so far in my whole career,’ said Thiem, the man who beat Andy Murray on his way to glory.