Osaka shocks tennis world for second time this year, changes coach

Naomi Osaka, Ashleigh Barty, ATP rankings, Karolina Pliskova, Bianca Andreescu, Simona Halep
Naomi Osaka's rise to third spot means Elina Svitolina has slipped to number four. Photo: Twitter

In the Pan Pacific Open tournament in Osaka, western Japan, Naomi Osaka on Friday (September 13) announced that she was splitting with her coach as she battles for form and slips down the world rankings.

Japanese tennis superstar announced in Tokyo that she would no longer be working with Jermaine Jenkins, who joined her team after her triumph at the Australian Open in January.

The 21-year-old tennis player took Twitter to make it official for her fans about her second split up from her coach.

“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,” added Osaka.

Osaka, after winning two grand slams – the US Open in 2018 and the Australian Open in January, shocked the tennis world when she announced she was parting ways with coach Sascha Bajin, her coach during the victories.

However, her player statistics have gone down drastically and have been patchy since Melbourne. 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 months US Open in the last 16 to Swiss player Belinda Bencic.

Her form outside the slams has hardly been better, losing two quarter-finals during the US 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 returned home 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 US sensation Sloane Stephens.

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

(With inputs from PTI)