Naomi Osaka responds after Nick Kyrgios photo sparks tennis frenzy

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Naomi Osaka, pictured here saying she's open to playing doubles with Nick Kyrgios.
Naomi Osaka said she's open to playing doubles with Nick Kyrgios. Image: Getty/Instagram

Naomi Osaka says she's open to teaming up with Nick Kyrgios in doubles after she was spotted watching on during one of his practice sessions at Indian Wells.

Osaka sent tennis fans into a frenzy this week when she sat courtside as Kyrgios ramped up his preparations for the ATP 1000 event in California.

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Osaka could be seen sitting right next to Kyrgios as he fine-tuned his serve, offering up some tips to the Australian star.

Kyrgios posted video of the practice session on social media, writing: "Quick LA session with Naomi Osaka.

"Analysing my serve to find any small detail… Her hunger to learn was pretty epic to see from a champ like her."

The footage sparked calls from fans for Kyrgios and Osaka to team up in doubles, and the Japanese star responded on Thursday.

“If he wants to attempt to carry us, I’ll consider it,” Osaka said after her first round win over Sloane Stephens.

"But I haven’t played doubles in years and I’m not quite great at it.

“I know he just won the Australian Open doubles title. Yeah, if he wants to do everything…”

Kyrgios' last doubles match was the Australian Open final, in which he and Thanasi Kokkinakis teamed up to win their first grand slam title.

Kyrgios and Osaka make winning starts at Indian Wells

Kyrgios made a winning return to the court on Thursday, unleashing a serving blitz to power past Sebastian Baez 6-4 6-0.

The World No.132, who needed a wildcard to enter the tournament, sent down 12 aces to one and landed 90 per cent of his first serves on the way to the easy win.

The victory set up a second-round clash with Argentina's World No.34 Federico Delbonis.

"It was good to be back. I haven't played in the desert for almost two, three years so just good to be back feeling healthy," Kyrgios said.

Nick Kyrgios, pictured here in action against Sebastian Baez at Indian Wells.
Nick Kyrgios in action against Sebastian Baez at Indian Wells. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

"I love this place. It's relaxing, it's very different to every other event and just to be playing good tennis - that guy's 60 in the world but I know what I'm capable of.

"I know if I play my game, serve well, I've had success here and in Miami. So I feel good and I feel confident."

Osaka also made a winning return, rallying to beat Sloane Stephens 3-6 6-1 6-2 in a first-round meeting of former major champions.

Osaka, who won in 2018 at Indian Wells, is back in the desert for the first time since 2019.

She hasn't played a tournament since January when she lost in the round of 32 at the Australian Open.

Naomi Osaka and Sloane Stevens, pictured here after their match at Indian Wells.
Naomi Osaka shakes hands with Sloane Stevens after their match at Indian Wells. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Only having played a handful of events last year, her ranking has dropped to 78th in the world.

Trailing 2-0 in the third set, Osaka fought off three break points to hold and begin a run of six straight games to close out the match in just under two hours.

Osaka said after battling strong winds: "Sloane is such a champion. Hopefully, next time we play will be in more ideal conditions.

"I haven't played in wind like that for a while, so this was very new to me. I felt like I was fighting for my life. I was playing against her; I was playing against the wind. It was crazy.

"I just kept thinking she was going through the same circumstances as me, so I just had to will myself to try as hard as I could."

with AAP

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