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12 Feb, 2019 15:45

'No one can become the next Serena': World No. 1 Osaka on former foe Williams

'No one can become the next Serena': World No. 1 Osaka on former foe Williams

Naomi Osaka believes all-time great Serena Williams is truly peerless in the sport of tennis, revealing she thinks that no one will ever reach the heights of the 23-time Grand Slam winner and her elder sister Venus.

Osaka, who bested Serena in the US Open final last year to clinch her maiden Grand Slam, before winning at the Australian Open last month, said no one will come close to the 37-year-old in terms of playing level and achievements.

Speaking in a press conference, Japanese sensation Osaka, 21, said that Williams was a "legend" and her "number one" growing up.

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"I'm kind of more of a Serena person,"Osaka said, Tennis World reported. "I mean, I like super love Venus, too, but Serena was, like, my No. 1. One of the things I remember with Serena playing Heather Watson, and I was screaming at my TV, like, Come on, Serena, you can do it."

Osaka then went even further and stated she "wanted to be" the younger Williams sister, whom she would grow up to beat in the US Open final, which was somewhat overshadowed by the latter's on-court tantrum at an umpire.

"I always wanted to be Serena. I don't think anyone can become the next Serena and Venus. I feel like they're, like, legends, you know," said Osaka, who also beat Serena in the Miami Open, making it two wins from their two meetings.

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"I don't think it's possible with the way tennis is now. I just feel like I want to do the best that I can and hopefully that's enough."

Serena infamously exploded after she deemed she had been unfairly docked points in their US Open final meeting in New York, overshadowing a moment of joy for youngster Osaka, who was reduced to tears by the American's actions.

On Tuesday, Osaka announced that she would be splitting from WTA Trainer of the Year for 2018, Sascha Bajin, with whom she has won the last two Grand Slam titles and risen to the rank of world number one. 

Bajin was also coach of Serena for 13 of her 23 major championship wins in a partnership that lasted from 2018 to 2015.

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