Friday, 22 Feb 2019

Naomi Osaka’s split with Sascha Bajin a sign of the times and her steeliness | Kevin Mitchell

Few saw the parting coming but it demonstrates the impermanence of the player-coach relationship at the top of world tennis

Naomi Osaka splitting with her coach, Sascha Bajin, after little more than a year and two grand slam triumphs together shocked many people in tennis but, if the world No 1 wants no more than to explore new strategies and schedules, it could lift her even further away from her rivals.

They announced the divorce on Twitter on Monday and have issued no statements since. The Japanese media are speculating they started to grow apart towards the end of the Australian Open last month, claiming she did not agree with some of his ideas and even practised alone, but that did not appear to be the case at the time, as she powered on to her second slam title in a row at just 21, with his happy endorsement.

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