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"Naomi Osaka is able to smell the big moment & go in for the kill, like Novak Djokovic" - Boris Becker

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka
ANALYST
Modified 23 Feb 2021
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Boris Becker recently likened Naomi Osaka’s on-court ruthlessness with that of Novak Djokovic’s. Becker also predicted Osaka to triumph at Wimbledon some day, despite the 23-year-old not having a great record on grass so far.

Naomi Osaka took home her second Australian Open title on Saturday, defeating Jennifer Brady in the final. The Japanese has now won all of her four Majors on hard court, and is yet to progress beyond the third round on clay or grass.

But in his recent column, Boris Becker sounded bullish about Naomi Osaka’s chances at Wimbledon, pointing out how she has the skill-set to do well on grass. However, the six-time Slam champion is not as confident about Osaka's chances on clay.

"In terms of her (Naomi Osaka) tennis success it has been largely limited to hardcourts, but I am sure she will win Wimbledon one day," Becker wrote. "She is much more likely to triumph there than at the French Open with the way she plays. She just has to learn how to play on grass, because she has the natural weapons to excel on it."
Novak Djokovic
Novak Djokovic

The German went on to acknowledge that he is an admirer of Naomi Osaka's sharp understanding of the game, which he feels is similar to that of Novak Djokovic.

"What I also like about her is that she seems able to smell the big moment and go in for the kill, like Novak Djokovic," Becker continued.

Naomi Osaka looks like a genuine superstar: Boris Becker

Naomi Osaka with the 2021 Australian Open title
Naomi Osaka with the 2021 Australian Open title

Naomi Osaka has taken giant strides in the public sphere over the last few years, becoming a name to reckon with both on and off the court. With her involvement in the ‘BLM’ (Black Lives Matter) movement and various environmental causes, Osaka has shown that she cares for a whole lot more than just tennis.

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Boris Becker believes that Osaka's off-court work, together with her on-court success, will help her become the face of women’s tennis once Serena Williams calls it a day.

"Naomi Osaka is becoming more than just a tennis player, and that is great for women's tennis," Becker wrote. "Their side of the game has been crying out for a leader to take over from Serena Williams, and she has arrived. Not just a player who looks better than the pack right now, but as a confident young woman prepared to speak out on wider issues – she is looking like a genuine superstar."

Becker also had a few words of praise for Jennifer Brady, whom Naomi Osaka beat in the Australian Open final, but he followed that by claiming the Japanese is a cut above the rest of the field.

"I was also surprised by Jennifer Brady, who looks a definite top five player to me," the 53-year-old added. "But Osaka is currently in her own bracket, and as Serena fades it is very timely that there is someone to step into her shoes."
Published 23 Feb 2021, 21:36 IST
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