MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA) – Three-times Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka says she just wants to become more consistent and play every match as hard and that she is no longer focused on reclaiming the world No. 1 ranking .
“It doesn’t bother me as much as it used to because I remember when I first got to No 1, I think nobody really acknowledged me as No 1,” she told reporters on Saturday.
Osaka rose to the top of the rankings following her 2019 Australian Open triumph but is currently third behind Ash Barty and Simona Halep.
The 23-year-old, will face former quarter-finalist Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the first round at Melbourne Park..
“I remember I was in Indian Wells and I was talking to someone, they were like, ‘what side of the draw are you on?’ And the No. 1 is always on the top side.
“It just made me think, wow, people don’t really see me as No. 1. … since that point I just kept trying to prove myself.
“That wasn’t really a good mindset to have. Right now I’m at a really good place, I just want to play every match as hard as I can. If it comes to the point where I’m able to be No. 1 again, I’ll embrace it, but I’m not really chasing it any more.”
Osaka pulled out of her Gippsland Trophy semi-final on Saturday with a shoulder “niggle” as she did not want to risk it before the major.
“Anyone that’s kind of followed me for a bit knows that I’ve kind of had a slight shoulder thing since like 2018 in Beijing,” she said.
“It kind of flared up again because I played a lot of matches back-to-back. My main focus is hoping I can rest enough before the Open.”