with Bajin not over money: Osaka
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[February 18, 2019]
(Reuters) - World number one
Naomi Osaka was adamant that her shock split with coach Sascha Bajin
had nothing to do with money but it was because she was determined
that her career would not be about putting "success over happiness".
The German had guided the Japanese player to back-to-back Grand Slam
titles as well as to the summit of the WTA rankings. But just two
weeks after her triumph at Melbourne Park, Osaka abruptly severed
ties with Bajin. That led to suggestions the two had fallen out over
"Everyone thinks it was a money-related issue, but it wasn't," the
U.S. and Australian Open champion told the WTA in Dubai. "That's one
of the most hurtful things I've ever heard.
"I travel with everyone on my team, I see them more than my family.
I would never do that to them.
"My reason is I wouldn't put success over my happiness - that's my
main thing. I'm not going to sacrifice that just to keep a person
Bajin, a former hitting partner of Serena Williams, Victoria
Azarenka and Caroline Wozniacki, was named as the WTA's coach of the
year in 2018 after his success with Osaka.
During their time together, Osaka rocketed from 72 in the world at
the start of 2018 to number one last month.
Osaka said it was clear things were not right between them during
the season's opening major.
"It was kind of brewing in Australia. I think some people could see
that if they saw how we interacted," the 21-year-old added.
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Japan's Naomi Osaka with coach Sascha Bajin before her match against
Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova REUTERS/Patrick Hamilton/File Photo
"I would not want to split on really bad terms. I'm not going to say
anything bad about him because, of course, I'm really grateful for
all the things he's done.
"During the Australian Open, I was just trying to tell myself to get
through it. I'm not sure, but I think you guys noticed."
Osaka said she hopes to have a new coach in place by March at Indian
"It's not really ideal to go to Indian Wells without a coach. I
don't want someone that's in the box saying negative stuff. That
would be the worst," she said.
"(I want) someone that's kind of direct, not afraid to say things to
my face. I'd rather someone say it directly to me than go around my
back. That's one of the biggest things."
(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Greg Stutchbury)
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