Coach Sascha Bajijn and tennis phenom Naomi Osaka.Photo by The Asahi Shimbun/The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images
- Naomi Osaka made a shock announcement on Twitter on Monday.
- The world’s number one women’s tennis player confirmed her split from the 2018 WTA Coach of the Year Sascha Bajin.
- The decision comes just 16 days after she won her second career Grand Slam title, the 2019 Australian Open, and months after winning her first, the 2018 US Open.
- Nobody in the tennis industry seems to know why they have parted ways.
Naomi Osaka has split with the coach who guided her from world number 68 to a two-time Grand Slam champion, and nobody knows why.
Osaka joined forces with the 34-year-old tennis coach Sascha Bajin in December 2017, one month after being ranked 68th in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA).
Six months later, Bajin had guided Osaka into the top 20. And, within two years of benefiting from his tutelage, Osaka won her first major trophy, the 2018 US Open final where she outclassed Serena Williams in straight sets.
Now, just 16 days after winning her second major — the 2019 Australian Open — Osaka made an announcement that shocked the tennis industry as she confirmed her split from Bajin.
“Hey everyone, I will no longer be working together with Sascha,” Osaka wrote on Twitter on Monday. “I thank him for his work and wish him all the best in the future.”
Within an hour, Bajin said: “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.”
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.
— sascha Bajin (@BigSascha)
February 11, 2019
Osaka’s decision took the sport by surprise
Bajin was the 2018 WTA Coach of the Year and had previously worked with Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, and Caroline Wozniacki.
Considering Bajin’s pedigree and the wild success Osaka enjoyed under his watch, the decision to part ways is “surprising,” according to the New York Times tennis journalist Ben Rothenberg.
Rothenberg even wrote that “the reasons for the split were unclear.”
Neither Bajin, Osaka, or her agent Stuart Duguid have elaborated on what caused the split but it will likely be a hot topic in the weeks ahead.
The 21-year-old, currently without a coach, plays in the Dubai Tennis Championships in the United Arab Emirates on February 18. It is her first tournament since becoming the number one women’s tennis player on the planet.