Naomi Osaka says she feels more comfortable on clay as she aims to win the French Open for the first time in her career.
Osaka has won the US Open and the Australian Open twice as her rise to stardom continues at a rapid rate, but she is yet to get beyond the third round of the French Open. Osaka withdrew from the 2020 edition of Roland-Garros due to a hamstring injury and had not played on clay since 2019.
With the clay-court swing well underway in the build-up to the Paris Slam, which starts on May 24, the world number two says she is adapting to the divisive surface.
'So much to think about' - Williams, Osaka unsure about Olympics
"When I was playing on clay that year, I didn't feel uncomfortable at all," said Osaka of 2019.
"The two matches that I lost, it was more mental than it was physical. Like, I didn't feel uncomfortable sliding or I didn't feel that tired. So I'm actually really excited to get that mindset back and to start feeling more comfortable on clay.
"I try to play my natural way. I would say if I start thinking about grinding too much, I become a bit of a pusher and it's not really good for me. Of course you want to adapt to the clay and do things that are beneficial, but hopefully I don't change too much."
Osaka plays Czech Republic's Karolina Muchova in the second round of the Madrid Open on Sunday.
'Frustrated' Osaka trying to overcome mental block on clay
Osaka says risk of staging Olympics must be carefully weighed