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March 13, 2018

Naomi Osaka

Indian Wells, California

N. OSAKA/M. Sakkari

6-1, 5-7, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. What made the difference in the end after she came back in the second set?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I just kind of think the match was sort of on me. I think that I kind of only lost the second set because I lost focus, and I also started making a lot of unforced errors.

So in the third set I just tried to really focus and not give her any points when I shouldn't.

Q. What are you pleased with the most so far this tournament?
NAOMI OSAKA: That I'm still here (smiling).

Q. In terms of your game, I guess.
NAOMI OSAKA: In terms of my game, just, I think, the concentration level has been high for me, like, compared to, like, previous years.

So, yeah, that's the one thing that I have been really working on, so I'm happy about that.

Q. So when you lost the second set, you looked nervous and frustrated. Some negative results, like, memory of last years or some past matches go through your mind or are you completely okay with it?
NAOMI OSAKA: I wasn't -- like, I wasn't angry when I lost the second set. It was, like, maybe halfway through I was a little bit, like, upset.

But, no, when I lost the second set, I was just more thinking I have to correct the things that I did wrong. I wasn't really thinking of past matches, because I'm kind of over it, if that makes sense. And just try and stay in the moment more and just keep doing better every match.

Q. What do you think makes your opponent tough to play against? Of course she has very good defense, you know, have great backhand. What kind of shots or what kind of play style makes you a little bit uncomfortable to play?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I think her forehand is really good here because the ball bounces high. So that was a little bit tricky when she changed up doing that.

And also she's a really good fighter, so I didn't -- like, she didn't give up on anything, so I think that was really hard to play against, too.

Q. Would you change anything in terms of tactic or...

Q. No? Just stick to your plan?

Q. Your next opponent, Karolina Pliskova, was talking earlier about how she feels confident going against the younger girls because she's confident in her game. You being the younger one, do you ever feel that some of these older players are scared of you on the court?
NAOMI OSAKA: Not really. I mean, I don't really think about it like that. I don't really see it as age, because I feel old (smiling). I just -- I try to think about it, what are my skills and what is the other person's skills?

I really don't think age matters right now, because there is a lot of good, top players that are -- like, some people would say they are old, but I don't think it's like that.

Q. Can you elaborate? Why do you think you feel old?
NAOMI OSAKA: Because I feel like I have been on the tour forever (smiling). I feel like that even though it's been only a few years.

But I don't know. Like, I have been, like, on the tour since I was 14. So, I mean, I feel like I know a lot of stuff. Yeah, I don't feel like I'm new to this. And also, I'm just, like, super not -- I don't act like a young person, I don't think.

Q. You're the first woman from Japan since 1996 to make it this far at this tournament. When you come across any of these records, do they mean something to you?
NAOMI OSAKA: Not really. I mean, if I win, sure, yeah. I mean, that would be good for me, but I don't really want to stop at the quarters. I want to keep going.

I would like to make new records, like, things that never happened before instead of breaking things that people have already done.

Q. Do you think that it helped at all that you started this tournament, you know, having to play some of your best tennis, knowing who you had in the first round, and maybe that's actually kind of helped you hold a good level throughout as opposed to, you know, playing a lower-ranked player on the outer courts and maybe -- I don't know. Do you think it focused you in a way for this tournament?
NAOMI OSAKA: I get what you're saying. Like, a tiny bit, and also not really. Because for me, I find it easier to play against the bigger players just because you know you have to constantly keep up the concentration and you can't really afford to lose points.

So, I mean, I'm glad I was able to play them, and I'm glad I was able to play two night matches on center. So I feel like it did jump-start me quite fast. But also, I see no bad points about playing, like, a lower-ranked person too instead of playing Sharapova in the first round.

Q. You had one of your first breakouts on the tour in Stanford, and now you have had a terrific tournament here. I just wanted to ask you, kind of loosely, what your impressions are of California and why you really like playing here?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I really like the weather in California. I'm really good in heat, so that's one big thing I like about coming here.

Other than that, I mean, sometimes I forget where I am...

Q. Any good experiences off the court here?
NAOMI OSAKA: Off the court here? I haven't done anything here. Like, I have just been to the hotel and back here.

So, yeah, I mean, if I had the chance, I would like to go somewhere.

Q. Obviously mentally you became stronger last year, but at the same time maybe you improved your fitness, physicality more. So do you think that improvement of physical makes your mentality stronger because you know that you can run faster than before, you can hang in there compared to last year?

(Laughter.) No, because you kind of, like, answered your own question there, so that was like a yes-or-no.

Q. Just talk about the benefit of being strong and physical.
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I mean, one of my main things starting this year was to get more fit, and I think that's why I was able to just start really well in Australia, and just being able to continue that. And knowing that I can run and I don't have to finish the point that early is a really good thing for me.

Yeah, I think that I'm doing better, so, yeah. Yeah, you kind of answered your own question (smiling).

Q. The last match you had against Karolina in Toronto, obviously it didn't end the way you wanted it to end, but for two sets there it was looking pretty good. Do you take positives out of that match that you played against her and apply it forward, or is that a wash because, you know, you had to quit the match? What impact does that match have on your preparation for the next round?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I mean, if I remember, I think we split and then I finished, right?

Q. Yeah.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, going into it, I don't want to think too much on that, because that's in the past, and I don't want to psych myself out on what could or couldn't happen.

But I think that if I was hurt and I was able to do well against her, then if I focus and really concentrate and just do the best that I can right now, it should be a good match.

Q. You said on court you were going to have a smoothie before you thought about the next match. I was curious if you have a particular flavor you have been drinking since you have been here?
NAOMI OSAKA: (Indicating). It's called Pitaya Sunset. I really don't know what Pitaya is. I taste some pineapple and mango in there. Yeah.

Q. You mentioned you haven't had much down time at the tournament. You play and go back to the hotel. How do you decompress? Movies or books or...
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I play, like, computer games. And also I watch Netflix, but I just finished a series, so now I'm kind of stuck on what I should do.

Q. What were you watching?
NAOMI OSAKA: (Smiling).

I don't know if I'm allowed to say the title. It's about the kid -- there is a kid, there's another kid. It was new. It's called Everything... If you know the title to that.

Q. What video games are keeping you occupied at the moment?
NAOMI OSAKA: It's called EQ Worlds. It's the most boring game ever, but if you play it with somebody, then it could be fun. But I'm just using that to keep my time occupied that I don't get depressed that I can't play Overwatch.

Q. Do you play on a PC?
NAOMI OSAKA: I play on at Mac.

Q. Who do you play as on Overwatch?
NAOMI OSAKA: Okay. So I don't want to be toxic, but I play Merissa (phonetic) sim, and then Soldier. I mean, that's not that -- I can play Mercy, too. Okay. Sorry for talking.

Q. Did you watch Serena/Venus match last night?
NAOMI OSAKA: Of course.

Q. Of course?

Q. What is your thoughts on that match?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I think it's super awesome that they played each other that early, and I was kind of sad that I couldn't watch it live, because I didn't want to come here (smiling). It was super late.

But, yeah, I think, like, you never know when, like, they will play again, so I think the people that got to watch them here, they're really lucky.

And they are super big role models of mine, and I would really love to play them a lot. So, yeah.

Q. How does the fan support help you? Seems like you have become more and more popular this week but also every tournament. How does that impact you or how does that help you?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I mean, I'm really grateful for it. Like, I'm the type of person that gets more pumped if there is people cheering for me, so I feel like that's a positive for me.

And also, I think if there is a lot of fans, then, like, the energy both me and my opponent would get, like, our levels would go up. So I think, like, in a whole, it's a really positive thing.

Q. If you had to guess, why do you think you have become a fan favorite at this point?
NAOMI OSAKA: I don't really know. I don't really know. I don't know why they cheer for me, honestly. I think -- yeah, I have no idea (smiling). But I am grateful for it. So for whatever reason, I want to say thank you.

Q. It seems like you spend a good amount of time online. I wonder if there are any memes or vines that you may be obsessed with lately that you can share with us?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I mean, there aren't, like, any new ones that came out, like, a day ago. Everyone already knows all the SpongeBob Patrick ones. Those are boring. They're probably going to create a new SpongeBob one. Just waiting for that to drop, like, any second now.

Q. Did you like the Angry Patrick when it came out?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I thought it was pretty funny, but I don't think that's the best SpongeBob one. I think it's either the Mr. Krabs one or the Caveman thing, because that was seriously funny.

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