I understand the many comparisons being made between Naomi Osaka and Jennifer Capriati. On Saturday, Osaka became the second woman to back up her first Slam (US Open) by winning the very next Slam (Australian Open). The last woman to do so was Jennifer Capriati, when she won the 2001 Australian Open, followed by Roland Garros that same year. Capriati also made a number of ‘youngest ever’ lists early in her career, which has also invited comparisons with Osaka.
But I do not want Osaka’s career to be depicted only through this single reference point. It would be unfair to Osaka to have her career perpetually linked to Capriati’s. Because, let’s face it, despite their youthful talent, they are profoundly different people, with remarkable disparities in both temperament and discipline. Their cultural and family heritages are also extremely distinct. And they have a notable difference in their ability to emotionally regroup.
The ability to regroup refers to the capacity for controlling one’s emotions. It refers to the capacity for managing one’s emotions in order to achieve desired goals, complete selected tasks, and direct one’s behavior. It denotes the emotional skills needed to recover from a setback. It was this ability that Naomi relied on to recoup emotionally from being up 5-3, 40-0 in the second set – only to lose it.