“There’s a lot of times where I see myself in situations where I could have put my input in, but instead I’ve held my tongue and things kept moving in a way that I didn’t really enjoy,” she said.
“I feel like if I asserted myself, I would have gotten the opportunity to see what would have happened.”
With return dates for tennis still uncertain, Osaka said she was using the unexpected free time to try new things, like drawing and sketching.
“Part of me is a bit concerned (about not playing tennis), but also I know that other players are in the same position as me, probably,” she said.
“I just think that, it’s not like I’ll forget how to play tennis. I also don’t want to train five hours a day right now because I think that’s how you get burned out and you never know when tournaments will start again.”
Tennis Australia conceded Thursday that January’s Australian Open faces cancellation under a worst-case scenario, but said it was looking at a range of options in hope the COVID-19 crisis eases.
This year’s tennis calendar has been suspended until at least July 13 and, with global borders closed, there is uncertainty about when the international circuit can resume.
The season-opening Grand Slam is scheduled to take place in Melbourne from January 18-31, more than eight months away, and Tennis Australia said it would abide by whatever restrictions were in place at that time.
“We’ve certainly made no secret about the number of scenarios that we’re looking at,” a spokeswoman told AFP.
“We’re hoping for the best but planning for everything.”
Possibilities range from cancellation to imposing quarantine on overseas players and allowing only Australian fans into the event.
“We have to look at all the angles because a lot of the decisions will be beyond our control and related to government guidelines and restrictions,” she said.
“We do need to have all the protocols in place to ensure everyone’s safety.”
This year’s Wimbledon has been cancelled for the first time since World War II and the French Open postponed until the end of September.
The United States Tennis Association will decide in mid-June whether or not the US Open will be able to begin on schedule in New York in August.
Australia has banned all travel into the island nation for non-residents.
While talks have begun on opening up borders to neighbouring New Zealand, which like Australia has successfully controlled the epidemic, officials have said it could be many months before other international arrivals will be allowed.
Novak Djokovic battled through intense pressure from Dominic Thiem to reassert his dominance at the Australian Open Sunday, claiming a record eighth title and returning to world number one in the process.
The indomitable Serb stretched his unbeaten streak this season to 13 by rallying from two sets to one down and beating the courageous fifth-seeded Austrian 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 in a near four-hour ordeal.
It was his 17th Grand Slam title, moving him within two of Rafael Nadal and three of Roger Federer on the all-time list.
The victory put him alongside his fellow legends as only the third man in history to win eight or more titles at the same Slam after Nadal (12 at the French Open) and Federer (eight at Wimbledon).
It also ensured he will once again be world number one when the new rankings are released on Monday, usurping Nadal. Federer remains third with Thiem moving up a place to a career-high fourth.
But it wasn’t easy with the Serb looking lethargic and out for the count in sets two and three before regaining his mojo after a medical timeout to grind down the talented Thiem.
Djokovic had never before won a Slam final in seven previous attempts when finding himself two sets to one down.
The Serb, 32, was the overwhelming favourite, but the supremely fit and fast Thiem, 26, always had the weapons to trouble him, which he deployed successfully for much of the match, taming his serve and unleashing some explosive groundstrokes.
It was a nerveless start from Djokovic, who comfortably held then put big pressure on the Thiem serve, with a forehand into the net giving him an immediate break and a psychological edge after some monster rallies.
Thiem, though, is as strong mentally as he is physically and he finally got on the scoreboard after another tough service game.
And against the run of play, with Djokovic seemingly in control, he broke back, unleashing pinpoint groundstrokes to make the most of some loose Djokovic shots.
But the world number two was unrelenting, breaking again as Thiem served to stay in the set, with the Austrian sending down his first double fault of the match at the crucial moment.
Remarkably, a rare Djokovic double fault handed Thiem a break to go 2-1 up in set two with the courageous Austrian refusing to go away.
The Serb was getting frustrated, looking at his coaching box and pointing at his head.
He refocused and once again began attacking the Thiem serve, breaking back for 4-4, pumping his fists when the fifth seed sent a backhand wide.
But two-time warnings on his serve in the next game rattled Djokovic and he was broken again, with the Serb losing his cool by patting the umpire’s foot at the changeover.
He had words with the official before Thiem served out the set — the first the Serb had dropped in an Australian Open final since 2015.
Djokovic looked dejected and was immediately broken twice in set three as Thiem raced to a 4-0 lead, having won six games in a row with Djokovic imploding.
The Serb was heard telling a trainer he was tired and after losing the set, he went for a medical timeout.
He came back and the fourth set went with serve until a Thiem double fault handed the Serb two break points and he converted to regain control, serving out the set with an ace.
Djokovic drew on all his experience to force another break in the deciding fifth set to take a 2-1 lead and kept his foot on the gas to claim an eighth crown from the last 13 Australian Opens.
America’s Sofia Kenin stunned two-time Major champion Garbine Muguruza to win the Australian Open on Saturday, completing a surprise run where she came from nowhere to lift her first Grand Slam title.
Despite making her debut in a Major final Kenin, 21, showed all her trademark aggression as she fought back from a set down to win 4-6, 6-2, 6-2 in 2hrs 3mins against the shellshocked Spaniard.
The 14th seed, who will now jump to seventh in the world and usurp Serena Williams as America’s number one, was in tears at the end and headed straight for her father Alexander, who is her coach.
It was the final twist in a tournament of upsets after Williams crashed out in the third round and Kenin beat Australia’s world number one Ashleigh Barty in the semi-finals.
“It’s just such an honour to have my name on that beautiful trophy, it’s something I’ve dreamed about,” said Moscow-born Kenin.
“Of course it’s an exciting moment for me and for my family, I get to share this.
“Obviously things are going to change for me, but we’re just going to move forward, get ready for next tournaments.
“Right now we got to figure out how to celebrate.”
Former world number one Muguruza was unseeded for the first time at a Slam since 2014, having suffered a marked loss of form in the last 18 months.
The 26-year-old was resurgent in Melbourne over the past fortnight, but after grabbing the first-set lead her serve failed her spectacularly.
She totted up eight double-faults in all, three of them in the final game — including one on the second championship point, handing the title to her younger opponent.
Kenin fights back
Muguruza drew first blood at Rod Laver Arena, where the roof was closed for rain in Melbourne, getting the first break of serve.
Kenin, who ended the fairytale run of 15-year-old Coco Gauff on her way to the final, bounced her American stars-and-stripes racquet on the hardcourt in anger.
The 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon winner Muguruza took the first set in 52 minutes when the young American planted her forehand out.
Kenin, not one to hide her feelings on the court, said that she had struggled to rein in her emotions at that point.
“I was obviously devastated, I knew I didn’t take my chances,” she said. “I knew I needed to somehow forget what happened, just move forward and just keep believing in myself.”
The aggressive Kenin upped the ante in the second set, breaking her more experienced opponent in the fourth game and easily holding to sprint into a 4-1 lead.
Kenin, who won their only previous encounter in three sets, grabbed the second set in an emphatic 32 minutes. A rattled Muguruza was seen briefly by a physio for what appeared to be a lower-back problem.
Into the deciding set and the gutsy Kenin saved three game points in a pivotal fifth game, tossing the ball back over her head by way of a defiant celebration.
Kenin adds by far the biggest title of her fast-burgeoning career to the three WTA crowns she won last year.
“The past two weeks have been the best of my life,” she told Rod Laver Arena, as her father — who left the Soviet Union in 1987 to give the family a better life — filmed her victory speech on his phone.
“I love you guys from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much,” she told the crowd.
At 21 years and 80 days, Kenin is 22 days younger than Japan’s Naomi Osaka when she won the title last year.
Kenin is the youngest AustralianOpen champion since Maria Sharapova — her idol — won aged 20 in 2008.
Novak Djokovic shattered the hopes of ailing rival Roger Federer Thursday to sweep into a record eighth Australian Open final and move closer to his 17th Grand Slam crown.
The pair boasts one of world sport’s greatest rivalries, and after a tentative start, the Serb quickly reinforced his recent dominance, showing no mercy to the Swiss maestro in a 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, 6-3 win.
He will play either fifth seed Dominic Thiem or seventh-ranked German Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s final.
Austria’s Dominic Thiem stunned Rafael Nadal in an “epic” four-setter Wednesday to send the world number one tumbling out of the Australian Open and set up a semi-final against Alexander Zverev.
The fifth seed, beaten by Nadal in the last two French Open finals, battled past the Spaniard 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 7-6 (8/6) to deny him a crack at a record-equalling 20th Grand Slam title.
He will now meet German seventh seed Zverev, who shattered the dreams of veteran Stan Wawrinka 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to book his maiden place in a Grand Slam last four.
Awaiting the winner of that clash will be either seven-time champion Novak Djokovic or six-time winner Roger Federer, who meet in the other semi-final.
“All the match was on a very good level, I think we are both in great form,” said Thiem, only the second Austrian to make the Melbourne semis after Thomas Muster — the man he sacked this week as an advisor.
“Today I had the feeling I was lucky in the right situation… it is necessary because he is one of the greatest of all time. You need some luck to beat him.”
Thiem added that he was ecstatic at beating “a great champion” and “really proud how I stayed in the match”, which he called “an epic”.
Top seed Nadal had a 9-4 record over Thiem and had beaten him in all their five previous Slam meetings.
But the last time they played on hardcourts — at the 2018 US Open quarter-finals — it was a five-set marathon.
And the signs pointed that way again, with the opening set on serve to 2-2 before Thiem, gunning for a first Grand Slam title, worked a breakpoint but couldn’t convert.
Both baseline-huggers, it became a slugfest before Nadal managed to open some doors on the Thiem serve in game eight and he broke with a perfect lob from the back of the court.
But Thiem came roaring back, breaking back with a ripping crosscourt return. He saved a set point to take it to a tie-breaker where he rocked Nadal to seal a one-set lead.
– Famous victory –
Nadal, dripping in sweat on a steamy Melbourne night, attacked in the second set and Thiem lost his serve to love to go 3-2 behind.
But the Spaniard, the 2009 champion, became riled when issued with a warning for taking too long to serve and it rattled him, sending down a double fault as Thiem squared the set at 4-4.
Nadal saved a set point and it went to another tie-break where Thiem prevailed at the crunch thanks to a lucky net cord.
The third set was similarly tight, with no breaks until Nadal teased some errors from Thiem as he served to stay in the set, pumping his fists in celebration.
But when Nadal shanked a forehand to be broken in the third game of set four, the momentum swung back to the Austrian. He lost his nerve serving for the match at 5-4 before finally getting over the line in a tie-break for a famous victory.
“Of course, I am sad. I lost an opportunity to be in the semi-finals of another Grand Slam. But I lost against a great opponent. And he deserved it, too,” said Nadal.
Thiem now faces Zverev, who bounced back after being demolished in the first set by 2014 champion Wawrinka to take control and run out a comfortable winner.
Long touted as one of the next generation capable of breaking through to end the Grand Slam dominance of Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic, Zverev credited a more relaxed approach for his success in Melbourne.
“I’m doing many more things outside the court,” he said, adding that after a poor performance at the recent ATP Cup he did not have high expectations.
“Maybe this is a stepping stone. Maybe this is how it should happen.”
Roger Federer flicked a switch after losing the opening set to crush Marton Fucsovics and book a record 15th Australian Open quarter-final on Sunday, with unheralded American Tennys Sandgren his next hurdle.
The Swiss master took time to work out the Hungarian but when he did it was one-way traffic, romping to a 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 6-2 victory on Rod Laver Arena to edge closer to a seventh Melbourne title and 21st Grand Slam crown.
Awaiting him in the last eight on Tuesday is the 100th-ranked Sandgren, who upset 12th-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini over four intense sets.
“It was a tough start, Marton played very clean,” said Federer, who is into his 15th Melbourne quarter-final, surpassing John Newcombe’s 14.
It will also be his 57th appearance in the last eight at Grand Slams. No one else is close, with Novak Djokovic next in line on 46.
“It just took me some time, I tried to mix it up a bit and just had to figure it out. From the beginning of the second set it got a little bit easier,” he added.
Sandgren, a devout Christian, achieved his best Grand Slam result at Melbourne Park by reaching the last eight in 2018, but it was overshadowed by a row over his political views and links to right-wing activists.
He has put the controversy behind him and shown battling qualities to make the last eight again and said he was relishing the chance to play an all-time great.
“It will be very special, very special. To play him on a big stage like quarters of a Slam would be a ton of fun really,” he said.
The pair have never met before, as Federer noted: “I’ve played a lot of tennis in my life but never against Tennys.”
The ageless Federer was pushed to a gruelling five sets by John Millman in round three but showed no signs of tiredness against Fucsovics despite being 38.
Both players took time to feel each other out and it went with serve to 3-3 before the Hungarian grabbed the first break on the back of some high-quality service returns.
The unheralded 27-year-old ranked 67, looked composed, with his power and aggressive forehand unsettling Federer and he held his nerve to grab the set — the first he had ever taken off the Swiss.
Undaunted, Federer kept has cool, started to find Fucsovic’s weaknesses and dictate the points, earning a break to go 2-0 ahead in the second set.
He didn’t let up as the Hungarian struggled to stay in touch, broken again as the tide turned and normal business resumed for the Swiss great.
Fucsovics, who was attempting to become the first player from his country to make the Melbourne quarters, was shellshocked as Federer turned on the style.
He raced to a double break lead in the third with some brilliant passing shots and there was no way back for a player who came into the match in decent form, winning his three previous matches without dropping a set.
Federer, who could face Djokovic in the semi-finals if he gets past Sandgren, wrapped it up in 2hrs 11mins, almost two hours less than his third-round epic against Millman.
Rafael Nadal and Nick Kyrgios reached the Australian Open third round on Thursday after the weather-disrupted tournament faced a new challenge: dirty rain which left courts muddy and unplayable.
After a day of clean-up operations and delays, Australia’s Kyrgios fought his way past Frenchman Gilles Simon in four sets and Wimbledon champion Simona Halep stamped her class with a win over Britain’s Harriet Dart.
Nadal, a 6-3, 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 winner over Argentina’s Federico Delbonis, miscued a shot that hit a ballgirl in the head, but he melted hearts when he apologised and gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“I was so scared for her, honestly,” the 19-time Grand Slam winner said. “The ball was quick and straight on the head. She’s a very brave girl.”
Kyrgios, increasingly popular with home fans after his fundraising efforts for Australia’s bushfire crisis, was cruising at two sets up when he dropped the third set and with it, his composure.
But just when it looked like he would suffer one of his trademark implosions, he rallied for a 6-2, 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 victory.
“I definitely lost my way a little bit… but I decided to refocus,” Kyrgios said of his mini-meltdown in the third set. “I could have gone to a very dark place in the fourth set but I put it away.”
Kyrgios and Nadal stay on course for a fourth-round clash and the next instalment in their grudge match after the Aussie hit back at criticism from the “super salty” Spaniard last year.
Their victories followed a day of upheaval caused by the dirty rain, the latest weather problem at a tournament which has contended with bushfire smoke, heavy downpours and strong wind.
Rain mixed with a dust storm coated the Melbourne Park facilities in a fine layer of mud which took hours to clean and made many outside courts temporarily unusable.
‘I was freaking out’
As action resumed Alexander Zverev, another man who has a running feud with Kyrgios, showed signs of a return to form as he downed Egor Gerasimov 7-6 (7/5), 6-4, 7-5.
The German seventh seed has been practising up to seven hours a day after a winless ATP Cup and the hard work paid off as he safely reached the third round.
“Definitely much better than the ATP Cup. Now in the third round, I’m very happy about that,” said the 22-year-old, who beat Italy’s Marco Cecchinato in round one.
However, fifth seed Dominic Thiem had a scare as he was taken to five sets by Australia’s 140th-ranked Alex Bolt before recovering his composure to win 6-2, 5-7, 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-2.
“It was all of a sudden a really tight third set that shouldn’t happen. That’s why I was freaking out inside and also outside today,” said the two-time French Open finalist.
A nosebleed was one of Daniil Medvedev’s biggest challenges in his win over Spanish qualifier Pedro Martinez, while Gael Monfils, who injured his racquet hand playing computer games before the tournament, downed Ivo Karlovic.
In the women’s draw, Halep beat Dart 6-2, 6-4, while Belinda Bencic knocked out former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko — she was playing despite the sudden death of her father this month.
Two-time Major winner Garbine Muguruza, who scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in the off-season as she searches for a return to form, dispatched home hope Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.