Naomi Osaka says Serena Williams shouldn't be 'written off' and that Ashleigh Barty is the 'kindest player'

Naomi Osaka has hired a new coach ahead of the 2020 season (PA Images)
15:02pm, Thu 12 Dec 2019
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Tennis ace Naomi Osaka has said Serena Williams should not be 'written off' despite going two full seasons without a Grand Slam victory.

The Japanese player beat Williams in the US Open final last year and the American tennis legend hasn't won a Grand Slam title since she was victorious at the Australian Open in 2017.

Williams has lost four consecutive Grand Slam finals in the last year and many critics have begun to question the stars ability.

But Osaka, who has great respect for Williams, said: “I think it is silly to write Serena off. She went to the finals at Wimbledon and the US Open. She is in the top 10 and she has played the least number of tournaments out of every player.

“Of course it is hard to compare because she has had a great career but I think people are being a bit hard on her. She isn’t just someone that you write-off.

“For me, I wouldn’t have played tennis if it wasn’t for Serena and her sister Venus."

Osaka, left, with Serena Williams, right, at the Rogers Cup (PA Images)

“I watched them play when I was younger and that is why my sister and myself started playing. Serena is definitely someone that I look up to.

“There are a lot of really good players coming up now and I feel like everyone is getting a chance to show what they’ve been practising. Women’s tennis is really strong right now."

As the 22-year-old prepares for her 2020 season, she also spoke about world number one Ashleigh Barty.

“I’d love to be number one again but I think Ash deserves the spot right now," added Osaka.

“She has played an incredible year. She has won grand slams and multiple tournaments and the championship throughout the year.

“I know we are going to play more throughout our careers and I hope that is something that people look forward to.

“I don’t really hang around the players’ lounge too often but she just gives out a really good energy. Ash is one of the kindest players.”