Naomi Osaka on firing coach: Wants to be around people 'I really like and truly care about me'

Naomi Osaka fired coach Sascha Bajin last week, two weeks after winning her second straight Grand Slam at the Australian Open.

She did not give a reason, leaving a mystery as to why she would sever such a successful partnership. Some speculated it was a money issue.

On Sunday, Osaka opened up and said that happiness was her motivation for the move.

Osaka: Decision wasn’t about money

“Everyone thinks it was a money-related issue, but it wasn’t,” Osaka told WTA Insider. “That’s one of the most hurtful things I’ve ever heard. I travel with everyone on my team. I see them more than my family. I would never do that to them.

“I think my reason is I wouldn’t put success over my happiness. That’s my main thing.”

So what about Bajin affected Osaka’s happiness? She didn’t go into detail. But she did allude that Bajin was a source of negativity and a person she doesn’t like on a personal level.

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Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic bites the net in frustration during her first round match against KazakhstanÅfs Yulia Putintseva at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
Britain's Kyle Edmund serves to Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Spain's Rafael Nadal serves to Australia's James Duckworth in their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic makes a backhand return to Slovakia's Magdalena Rybarikova during their first round match at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019.(AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
Britain's Andy Murray reacts during his first round match against Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Monday, Jan. 14, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Britain's Andy Murray reacts during a press conference following his first round loss to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 24: A detail as sweat drips from the brow of Rafael Nadal of Spain in his Men's Singles Semi Final match against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during day 11 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26: Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrates after winning championship point in her Women's Singles Final match against Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during day 13 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 25: Samantha Stosur of Australia plays a forehand in her Women's Doubles Final match with Shuai Zhang of China against Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France during day 12 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 25, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26: Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic plays a backhand in her Women's Singles Final match against Naomi Osaka of Japan during day 13 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23: Milos Raonic of Canada serves in his quarter final match against Lucas Pouille of France during day 10 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 23: Serena Williams of the United States looks on in her quarter final match against Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic during day 10 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 23, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 27: Novak Djokovic of Serbia celebrates after winning championship point in his Men's Singles Final match against Rafael Nadal of Spain during day 14 of the 2019 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 27, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Japan's Naomi Osaka holds her trophy after defeating Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic during the women's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)
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Osaka: ‘I’m not happy around certain people’

“The biggest thing is I don’t want myself to think to be successful, I have to put success over happiness,” Osaka sad. “Because if I’m not happy being around certain people, I’m not going to torture myself. … So I’d rather just surround myself with people that I really like and that truly care about me and are just really positive. I think I’ve been able to do that.

“If I’m not waking up every day happy to practice and happy to be around the people I’m around, this is my life. I’m not going to sacrifice that just to keep a person around.”

So yeah. Osaka reached the pinnacle of the sport with the help of a man that she didn’t like. And she decided it was time for a change.

Osaka happier since Australia

She said she wasn’t happy while winning the Australian Open and is happier since letting Bajin go.

“Compared to Australia, I feel really happy now,” Osaka said. “That’s the funny thing because I heard some people saying I looked really sad in Australia every day.”

Asked about what she seeks from her next a coach — a vacancy that’s still open as Indian Wells approaches — Osaka is looking for more positivity.

“I don’t want someone that’s in the box saying negative stuff. That would be the worst.”

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