Naomi Osaka – Japanese tennis prodigy – service analysis

Young Naomi Osaka (*1997 / JPN) has shown her enormous tennis potential already twice in 2016. During the 2016 US Open, she advanced all the way to the 3rd round where she was leading 5/2 in the 3rd set against a top 10 player Madison Keys to eventually lose this 3rd set 6/7. Just a few weeks later, she has made it all the way to the finals of the Tokyo WTA tournament while beating with Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) and Elina Svitolina (UKR) two top 20 players on her way.

Tall Naomi (180cm / 5’11”) whose mother is from Japan and father originates from Haiti, can be currently best described as an aggressive baseliner with a quite dominant service. In this article, we are going to look in detail at her service from her winning 2nd round 2016 US Open match against Ying-Ying Duan (CHN). In the well-executed services, like the ones shown below, Naomi correctly fulfills all the essential Service 3.0 (of Tennis 3.0) requirements. Certain distinct improvements bringing higher margin and better efficiency would be still possible though. Some of the main aspects to work on are mainly around the rather arm-power forced pronation, which is quite normal when proper pronation was introduced to the player later in the career but should still become a bit more fluid (with better contraction-relaxation coordination) over the time to make an optimal transfer/unloading of the body energy into the stroke over the helix form possible. Also, the ball toss is still missing on more stability and the topspin serve is not fully developed yet.

Naomi is then definitely a player to look for in the future!!

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 1 0f 13 – start in a comfortable wide stance – eyes look for the last time into the direction of the intended target, hands are connected over the racket – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 2 of 13 – early beginning of the toss – eyes already look up towards the intended impact – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 3 of 13 – toss with the straight arm and eyes focused on the intended impact spot – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 4 of 13 – release of the ball by the tossing arm high above the shoulder, eyes are looking up, the dominant arm with the racket is rather delayed – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 5 of 13 – toss/release of the ball – tossing arm points towards the ball, hitting arm with racket goes on a short backswing loop, perfect head/eye stability – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 6 of 13 – early loading with the transfer of the feet position from the platform to the pinpoint stance – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 7 of 13 – loading continues, the toss is rather high – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 8 of 13 – more loading while racket travels to the cocking position – tossing arm points and eyes are looking towards the ball – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 9 of 13 – push-off from the ground gets the racket moving – eyes and body are in perfect control (except the fact that the edge of the racket is not lined up with the target) – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 10 of 13 – impact happens far inside the court with a fully extended body, the eyes are looking probably a fraction of the second too early into the court – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 11 of 13 – follow through 1 = long-axis pronation with a slightly bent elbow, racket stays for quite a long time on the dominant (right) side of the body, center of gravity moves clearly into the court (compare to her opponent Ying-Ying Duan (CHN) in the previous article here) – quite solid helix stroke form – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 12 of 13 – landing / follow through 2 – relaxation  without disruptive effect on the stroke execution – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 13 of 13 – almost a bit too long passive recuperation phase while observing the outcome of the service – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0  – deuce side – 1 of 4 – start from a wide base with a seemingly very good body and mind control – 2016 US.Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 2 of 4 – acceleration from the cocking position, the racket is perfectly lined up behind the body this time, the toss is in this case rather more back – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 3 of 4 – follow through 1 – perfectly controlled targeted pronation with a rather stiff arm, impact close to the baseline blocks to a certain degree the body center of gravity in moving more into the court – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - deuce side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 1st service 3.0 – deuce side – 4 of 4 – landing in the court combined with the follow through 2 – relaxation – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - ad side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 2nd service 3.0 – ad side – 1 of 3 – well-controlled start from a wide base – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - ad side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 2nd service 3.0 – ad side – 2 of 3 – acceleration from a perfect cocking position, the toss is quite back to help add topspin – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) - 1st serve - ad side - 2016 US.Open

Naomi Osaka (*97 / JPN) – 2nd service 3.0 – ad side – end of the follow through 1 = targeted pronation / landing – perfect pronation, but showing that there was a rather limited amount of the topspin in this service only as the racket position here would be rather more typical for the direct service – 2016 US Open – New York / USA

 

This article covers certain aspects of Naomi Osaka’s service and service in general only! Further extensive photo galleries and more details (inclusive improvement possibilities/suggestions) about her service and other strokes as well as about the strokes of other players are available upon request at drmgb11(at)gmail.com. Some significant details of this kind, necessary for a peak tennis performance as well as for a sustainable tennis training/development in general, are being discussed also in the seminar “TENNIS 3.0 – Future of the Game”, which is available worldwide upon request – www.tennis30.com / www.tennis30.cz

 

Photos (August 2016) & text (November 2016) copyright by Dr. Martin G. Baroch. Any further publication of either any of the photos and/or texts with the explicit written permission issued by the author/copyright owner only!!

 

DrMGB

Dr. Martin G. Baroch (alias DrMGB) - CPTA's Vice-president - Director of Education and Certifications, long-time USPTA International Head Tester and member of the USPTA Education Committee, owner of the Martin Baroch Tennis Academy & Human Performance Center (MBTA & HPC)

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