The Aus Open moment that exposed Naomi Osaka's 'rift' with coach

Many believe this was the moment Naomi Osaka revealed all was not well with her coach.

Osaka shocked the tennis world on Tuesday when she announced she’d split with coach Sascha Bajin, a little more than two weeks after she won the Australian Open and assumed the world No.1 ranking.

The 21-year-old Osaka, who won at Melbourne Park last month to add to her US Open crown from last year, announced that her successful partnership with Bajin had come to an end.

But no reasons were given.

“Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha. I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future,” Osaka tweeted.

Naomi Osaka and Sascha Bajin in 2018. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Osaka enjoyed a remarkable rise up the world rankings after she linked up with Bajin in the 2017 off-season.

The Japanese player climbed from world No.72 to reach the top five during the course of 2018, when she won her first grand slam title, and then hit top spot after her success in Melbourne.

Bajin, who has previously worked as hitting partner for Serena Williams, Caroline Wozniacki, Sloane Stephens and Victoria Azarenka, was named WTA coach of the year in 2018.

“Thank you Naomi I wish you nothing but the best as well. What a ride that was. Thank you for letting me be part of this,” he responded to Osaka’s tweet.

Bajin and Osaka at the Australian Open. Image: Getty

The clues that showed all was not well

A number of fans have since pointed out that Osaka didn’t name Bajin when thanking her team in her victory speech at the Australian Open.

She also referred to him simply as her ‘hitting partner’ in a social media post.


And prior to the final she said they didn’t really talk to each other much.

When asked by a journalist what advice Bajin had given her, she said: “None. We don’t really talk. Maybe like one thing.”

report from Japanese outlet Nikkan Sports claims there was a ‘rift’ between the two during the Australian Open, pointing out that Osaka practiced without him a number of times, while other sessions only lasted about 10 minutes.

She’s since unfollowed him on social media.




David Law of The Tennis Podcast suggested there might be more to the split than meets the eye.

“They were together a year and she won two grand slams in a row, Indian Wells and became No. 1 in the world. That doesn’t add up to a tennis decision,” he tweeted.