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May 14, 2018

Naomi Osaka

Rome, Italy

N. OSAKA/V. Azarenka

6-0, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions for Naomi?

Q. Naomi, how do you feel about that start for you? Just how did you feel about the match?
NAOMI OSAKA: Um, well, my like original goal, just playing it, was to do better than I did last time. And I wasn't really thinking much after I won the first game. I just really tried to keep the momentum going. And I was really glad that I was able to finish it at that score line.

But, it didn't really feel like it was as easy as I think people think it was.

But, yeah, I'm just really glad I was able to play an opponent like her. Just to even have a chance I think is really great, and I think it was fun.

Q. What are kind of the vibes as you start this tournament in Rome? And what have the last few weeks been like for you since Charleston?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I went home after Charleston and then played Fed Cup, which was really awesome. I think the atmosphere was something that I've never experienced before.

And then we went to Croatia and trained really hard, and then Madrid. But that didn't really go that well.

But, I feel like everything sort of happens for a reason. And I think the way this year is, I'm just trying not to take anything for granted. And I'm just trying to have fun every match and see how that goes.

Q. Naomi, a lot of big hitters are having success on the clay, especially this season so far. How do you feel your game tailors to the surface?
NAOMI OSAKA: Literally, I've only played one match on clay right now.

Q. Do you think that you actually play well on this surface?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I feel like if I had more matches and I kind of understood the clay better, then probably.

But, I mean, I feel like I played really well today. And that's definitely giving me confidence going into the next match.

So, yeah, I mean, I feel like everyone has had a lot more experience than me on clay. So, hopefully, I'll just keep playing on it and see what happens.

Q. You just said you feel you could play better if you understood the clay better. Where do you feel there is a miscommunication sometimes between you and the clay? What makes it tricky?
NAOMI OSAKA: Sometimes I stick my foot out to slide, and I just like fall.

And little things like that. Because like different courts -- like different -- There's different clay courts, so one can be faster and one can be slower.

So, I think just finding out how to figure out the difference between them.

Ha-ha, you look really confused. I'm confused, too.

But, yeah, I don't really know how to explain it. But I'm not really that comfortable on clay yet. And I know there's a lot of people that grew up on red clay, so just hopefully to be on the level of comfort as them.

Q. You talked about the sliding. You slide quite a bit on hard courts. Do you prefer sliding on hard courts than clay?
NAOMI OSAKA: (Nodding in the affirmative.)

Because at least I know it's a certain surface. But on clay, sometimes it's like -- like there could be a hole or whatever. And then other times, you could just stop suddenly.

I don't know, on clay I feel like I know the distance that I'll slide, but on - - Wait, did I say on ...

On hard, I know the distance I'm gonna slide; but on clay, I'm not really sure.

Q. Your draw is pretty rough here. You start with Azarenka, now you get Simona Halep next. What do you think of that matchup? You beat her in Indian Wells, but playing her on clay is probably her favorite surface. So, what do you think that matchup will be like?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I was really -- like I had the chance to play her in the French Open one time. And she played really good. And I think that I played good, too, that day. And I practiced with her in Madrid, actually.

I don't know, it's ... I feel like she moves really amazing on clay. And just seeing how that's gonna go 'cause it's definitely not like Indian Wells, this surface.

So, yeah, I just think it'll be very interesting.

Q. What did you do over the last few weeks to kind of charge the battery? Just, you know, have to ask.
NAOMI OSAKA: I don't think you want to know, like ...

I mean, I stayed home, played a lot of video games, went to Japan, hung out with one of my friends, like legit my only friend (laughter ).

And then in Croatia, Sascha was making us go to all the places and stuff. And we went on a boat, and it was really fun.

And then here, I'm just playing video games.

(Indiscernible question.)

No, 'cause you need like an internet connection and it has to be on a server. So I'm just playing like a disk game.

Q. I saw a picture on Twitter that you had dinner with Kei and other Japanese players. Just tell me, what was that like? And do you feel now that you are friends with Kei?
NAOMI OSAKA: I want to feel like I'm friends with Kei. I'm not really sure if he thinks I'm his friend.

But, I mean, he's really -- like, he's a really, really nice guy. It really surprises me how nice he is.

But, yeah, we had dinner with -- I had dinner with Kei and Miyu Kato. And basically, it was them trying to talk to me. And I'm just giving like the one-word replies.

But, to be fair, okay, in Madrid, the dinner starts really late. And I'm an early sleeper, so I was like sleepy halfway through the dinner. And so I was like (demonstrating), and they were trying to talk.

I went with my physio, and she was like poking me. And she was like, Wake up!

And, yeah, I think that's how Kei -- Kei probably has like a really weird impression of me.

Q. How did the dinner come about?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, Kei's physio and my physio were like, We should go to dinner once.

And it's probably never going to happen again. Because that was just so embarrassing.

Q. Do you and Kei speak English to each other?
NAOMI OSAKA: Sometimes we speak Japanese. Well, he speaks Japanese to me; and sometimes I speak Japanese back.

Q. I saw the video of Sascha. He lost the bet or something. Will you talk about that? And also bringing him in to your coaching when you went to Japan.
NAOMI OSAKA: Wait. Dinner, was he eating?

Q. Well, he ate something, I don't know. And then he ran into the bathroom.
NAOMI OSAKA: The nacho. He always talks about it. Even now he talks about it.

So it was in Fed Cup we were doing a drill. And then he lost. So it was whoever lost.

'Cause I actually have never eaten a nacho, either. But it just smells really unpleasant.

So, it was whoever lost that drill was going to eat it. And then he ate it in front of everyone. And then, yeah, even to this day, he keeps complaining about it.

And then, the second part of your question was?

Q. Just bringing him into Japan and him blending with your team?
NAOMI OSAKA: Oh. Well ...

Um, we were going straight from Japan to Croatia. So, I think he's like never really experienced Japan. And he still didn't.

Because, you know what he did? We went to Tokyo, and he just was in the gym. I was like, let's go to Harajuku. He was like, I have to lift at 2:00. Come on, what is that?

Today, we were -- No. Yes. We were talking about crepes, because he likes crepes a lot. And I said there was really good crepes in Harajuku. And now he's giving me an attitude because he didn't want to go to Harajuku. And that's that story.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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