This was the second split this year for the tennis star Photo: AFP

Naomi Osaka changes coach for second time this year

By Michael Reaves

Naomi Osaka announced on Friday she was splitting with her coach, her second break-up this year as she battles for form and slips down the tennis world rankings.

On the eve of the Pan Pacific Open tournament in Osaka, the 21-year-old announced she would no longer be working with Jermaine Jenkins, who joined her team after her triumph at the Australian Open in January.

"Writing this to let you guys know that me and Jay won't be working together anymore," Osaka tweeted. "I'm super grateful for the time we spent together and the things I learned on and off the court but I feel like now is a (sic) appropriate time for a change... Thank you for everything, it was a blast."

Osaka had already caught the tennis world by surprise when she announced she was parting ways with coach Sascha Bajin, who had overseen her stunning rise to win two grand slams -- the U.S. Open in 2018 and the Australian Open title in January.

But her results since Melbourne have been patchy. She lost in the third round of the French Open to Katerina Siniakova from the Czech Republic, ranked 41 places below her in the world rankings.

She then suffered a humiliating first-round exit at Wimbledon to Yulia Putintseva from Kazakhstan before crashing out of this month's U.S. Open in the last 16 to Swiss player Belinda Bencic.

Her form outside the slams has hardly been better, losing two quarterfinals during the U.S. hard-court season that has seen her slip from the number one position in the world rankings to number four in the latest list.

The split with Jenkins came as Osaka arrived in Japan for the Pan Pacific Open where she reached the final last year.

Her main challengers in the event will be fellow top-10 players Kiki Bertens and Sloane Stephens.

Angelique Kerber, who beat her in the first round in 2017, is also in the draw for the competition that runs between Sept 16 and 22.

© 2019 AFP

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

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She killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

7 ( +10 / -3 )

Her main problem is not her coach but herself. She has not been able to coop with her star status and already believes she knows best. She does indeed need a better coach than the one just fired but more than anything she needs a good manager who teaches her how to talk and present herself. And a good psychologist.

In the past 9 months she has been more concerned with her hair and looks than her tennis. She does not have the grinta anymore, no more hunger to win, she is playing the public more than her opponent. That is 10 years to early. She needs to stop flirting with camera ‘s and trying to be “cute” and listen to her team, providing she hires the right experts and not “ yes” men and women.

She has little time left to find herself and she actually worries me.

7 ( +11 / -4 )

2026 Wimbledon: Osaka loses in the semi-finals.

JT community: She shouldn't have fired her coach in February '19!!!

Back on planet earth, I'm glad to see that once again she has demonstrated herself as an assertive player who knows when it's time to cut ties with someone who things aren't working with. Jenkins didn't work out - that was obvious to everyone watching. Bajin worked for a while, but not ultimately. Now it's time to see if Osaka can identify the kind of person who suits her needs the best. That's a skill all on its own.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

Agree with the above posters, but I'll add that I've always thought Osaka to be a flash in the pan.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

She got lucky and beat someone almost twice her age a year ago. A true champion has it in their genes -- not her. For the rest of her career Osaka will be a second-tier player. But the good news is that Japan Inc. doesn't have anybody else remotely capable to sponsor, so Osaka will still see some yen thrown her way. Of course, all that past talk about whether she is Japanese or American by the media is now totally forgotten...

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Never her fault, always someone else's. Starting to lose respect for her with the attitude. She knows full well she should never have split with her old coach. Or maybe she doesn't... and so she keeps screwing up.

5 ( +10 / -5 )

The flakiest sports athlete out there.

4 ( +8 / -4 )

21 years old, it is a tough call, I was still studying at college hardy travelled.....

3 ( +4 / -1 )

She needa to fix herself first before changing coaches

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Naomi's young, graceful and talented. In a bit of slump? Perhaps. Out of it completely? Not by a long shot.

You go, girl!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I still maintain my previous remark that if Naomi Osaka would like to win more grand slams in her career, she should approach to Sascha Bajin and ask him to be her coach again.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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