Osaka proves herself a true champion, beating Victoria Azarenka in three sets to secure her third major Grand Slam trophy.
Here at Ultra Sports Clinic, we love an inspiring sports story and it doesn’t get much more inspiring than Naomi Osaka’s journey to victory at the 2020 US Open. The 2018 champion found herself in a dire situation after losing the first set 1-6 to her opponent Victoria Azarenka, but she dug deep and gave a magnificent performance, winning the following two sets 6-3, 6-3. This amazing performance is made all the more impressive and inspiring because she managed to do all this whilst struggling with a hamstring injury.
Osaka injured her left hamstring during the Western & Southern Open Tennis Tournament at the end of August and the injury forced her to withdraw from the final against Victoria Azarenka. With such little time to recover since then, Osaka went into the 2020 US Open struggling to manage the injury. Hardly an ideal situation, but she still managed to play phenomenal tennis, beating three of her opponents in straight sets and taking three sets to win three of her other matches, before facing Azarenka in the final.
We had been hoping that Naomi would play Serena Williams in the final, but sadly Serena was knocked out in the semi by Azarenka. Williams had been struggling with an injured foot, so we can only imagine the exciting match that we missed out on because of that injury. This is not the first time Osaka has struggled with a hamstring injury during a major tournament. In October 2018 at the WTA Finals in Singapore, Naomi’s left hamstring was so painful that she couldn’t even finish the first set of her semi-final against No.8 seed Kiki Bertens.
Tennis players can be prone to many different injuries. Shoulder injuries tend to be the most common, but the punishing demands of the sport at elite level can take its toll on the whole body. In April 2019 Naomi strained her abdominal muscles as she beat Croatian Donna Vekic in the Stuttgart Open, impressively coming from behind in the final set to claim victory. This abdominal injury plagued her during her next match, forcing her to withdraw from the semi-final against Estonian Anett Kontaveit. Three weeks later, Naomi withdrew from the Italian Open due to an inexplicable hand injury. Osaka was at a loss to explain how she hurt her hand; she simply woke up that day with pain. Then in October of the same year, Osaka had to withdraw from the WTA Finals because of a shoulder injury which she thought she had recovered from. Naomi picked up that injury in her final match at the China Open in Beijing a few weeks earlier.
The reason we’re focusing so much on Osaka’s recent injuries is to highlight the importance of Final Phase Recovery. As our Clinical Lead Jaco explains in this video, a phased approach to recovery is necessary in order to help an athlete not only recover properly from their injury, but hopefully end up stronger as a result. The problem is though, that elite tennis players like Naomi Osaka and Serena Williams face such a gruelling schedule on the tennis circuit, that if they do sustain an injury during a match, it’s likely to keep plaguing them for the rest of the season. They simply don’t have the time to go through all the phases of recovery and reach that crucial final phase.
Thankfully, as mere mortals, we’re not under the same kind of time pressure and can take a proper phased approach to our own recovery. If you have a niggling injury, get in touch with us so that we can tailor a recovery programme to suit your specific needs.
Call us on 0203 893 5100 or book an appointment online.