Did Naomi Osaka make a mistake by firing her coach?

YES:

Naomi Osaka made a mistake firing her coach, Sascha Bajin because he turned her career around and has experience that could have helped Osaka even more. Prior to hiring Bajin, Osaka was ranked No. 72 in the world and had little success in grand slam tournaments. After hiring him, Osaka won her maiden grand slam title at the United States Open, rose 71 spots in the rankings from No. 72 all the way to No. 1, and won her second grand slam at the Australian Open. In only a year of working together, Osaka has had major breakthroughs that would not have been possible without his guidance. Bajin has also worked with other grand slam champions such as Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki. During his seven years as Williams’ hitting partner, he learned about the many ways players can balance their personal and professional lives and also what it takes to consistently be the best in the world. All of the information he has learned with Williams could have been extremely useful for Osaka since she still has a lot to learn about life as a professional tennis player. Naomi Osaka should have kept Sascha Bajin as her coach considering how successful the duo could have been.

-Darian Trabold

NO:

Naomi Osaka did the right thing when she fired her coach Sascha Bajin because she is currently the best women’s tennis player in the world, and she deserves a coach who can keep her at that level. Osaka announced her split from Bajin in February and what ensued was an overreaction by the tennis world. Several different news outlets reported on the sudden split, shaping public opinion and denying Osaka the chance to really address what happened and why she fired Bajin. Osaka is still dealing with the pressures of her newfound fame since she is ranked No. 1. Osaka said she put her own happiness over success, but how could anyone blame her for that? Bajin probably put extra pressure on Osaka after her back-to-back grand slam titles. Also, Osaka is not the only player who has split with their coach recently. Angelique Kerber, ranked No. 8, fired her coach, Wim Fissette and No. 2 Simona Halep and her coach Darren Cahill have also broken up. Obviously, change is afoot in the women’s tennis world, as coach firings or separations seem to be commonplace. While Sascha Bajin may hold the Women’s Tennis Association Coach of the Year Award, it is important to recognize that Bajin has practically zero experience, other than being a hitting partner, as this was his first year as a head coach. Obviously, Osaka had to make a hard decision, and she correctly chose to do what was in her best interests.

-Colin Crawford

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