Naomi Osaka's most underrated weapon
Tennis|May - June 2021
The superstar can earn more than a single point with her flat, hard, deep —and often untouchable—return
CHANDA RUBIN

Naomi Osaka’s serve is one of the best in the game. She gets good power, she can hit to any spot in the box, and she gets a lot of aces. At this year’s Australian Open, where Osaka won her fourth Grand Slam singles title in her last eight majors, she tallied an even 50.

The scary part? It may only improve.

“For me, the biggest thing if I could redo this match,” Osaka said after beating Serena Williams in the semifinals in straight sets, “I would want my serve to be better.”

But Osaka has more than just a great serve in her arsenal. One shot that may fall under the radar is her return of serve.

It all starts with her positioning. On the first serve, she’ll stand a little further back; on the second serve, she’ll step inside the baseline. With both returns, she has a short and quick take-back that pushes her momentum forward.

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