Two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka is moving on from her second coach in a span of seven months, she announced Thursday on Twitter.
The current world No. 4 Osaka, 21, and Jermaine Jenkins had only been working together since February. Their partnership followed her surprise split from former coach Sascha Bajin, the 2018 WTA Coach of the Year, after winning back-to-back major titles.
"I'm super grateful for the time we spent together and the things I learned on and off court," Osaka wrote, "but I feel like now is a appropriate time for a change."
Since winning the Australian Open under Bajin’s guidance in January, Osaka hasn’t made it back to a major final. Most recently, she was bounced from the 2019 U.S. Open by Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in the fourth round in early September.
Jenkins, 34, was Venus Williams’ hitting partner and also worked with USTA Player Development, according to the WTA.
Naomi Osaka’s last coaching change was about happiness
Though Osaka initially did not give a reason for firing Bajin earlier this year, she opened up just before hiring Jenkins, saying that happiness was her motivation for the move.
“Everyone thinks it was a money-related issue, but it wasn’t,” Osaka told WTA Insider at the time. “That’s one of the most hurtful things I’ve ever heard. I travel with everyone on my team. I see them more than my family. I would never do that to them.
She didn’t go into detail as to what exactly about Bajin made her unhappy, but alluded to him being a source of negativity in her life.
“The biggest thing is I don’t want myself to think to be successful, I have to put success over happiness,” Osaka said. “Because if I’m not happy being around certain people, I’m not going to torture myself. … So I’d rather just surround myself with people that I really like and that truly care about me and are just really positive. I think I’ve been able to do that.
“If I’m not waking up every day happy to practice and happy to be around the people I’m around, this is my life. I’m not going to sacrifice that just to keep a person around.”
Could the change be success-related this time around? We’ll have to wait to find out. Osaka is slated to play in the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Japan next week, where she’ll likely face questions about the change.
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