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June 30, 2018

Naomi Osaka

Wimbledon, London, England

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How do you feel about your game on the grass heading into this Wimbledon compared to last year?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I mean, I feel like I played a lot of good matches on grass this year. Compared to last year, I feel more comfortable. Last year I'd never been here before, so now I kind of know where things generally are. So I feel better this year.

Q. What do you consider the biggest challenge in playing on grass?
NAOMI OSAKA: I would just say sometimes the ball bounces a bit weird. But other than that, I think everything's pretty fun.

Q. Do you like the quietness and calm of Wimbledon? Do you prefer the more chaotic, louder events?
NAOMI OSAKA: I didn't know this was quiet and calm (smiling).

I mean, I can see what you're talking about, but for me, like, since I haven't really been here so many times, my memory isn't really too certain on, like, what I'm sort of expecting. So, I mean, I guess I can go either way.

Q. Your match with Venus here last year, do you ever think back about that match? If you do, what do you think is the biggest thing you learned from that?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I was thinking about that match when I was playing in Nottingham because it was the last grass court match I played. I just remember that I played really well. She just played super amazing. I thought that was, like, one of the matches when I was a little kid I wanted to play against her on grass court.

So, yeah, for me it was a really amazing experience. I kind of want to play like that again, play one of them again.

Q. What does wearing white, which is unique to Wimbledon, mean to you?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I normally wear black, so for me, when I had to start wearing white, I thought I looked really weird. But, yeah, I mean, it's really special I think for a tournament to have that kind of rule, for everyone to, like, respect that. I think it's really cool.

When you go outside and you see everyone wearing white, then you sort of know, like, you think, Oh, it's Wimbledon and stuff, so...

Q. I don't think you have played your first-round opponent before. She has a very unique style. She's the kind of player where you really need to be very calm on the court. What are you going to tell yourself ahead of that match? She drives some players crazy, so...
NAOMI OSAKA: I guess I'm just going to think what you told me (smiling).

Q. You're welcome.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yes, thank you (laughter).

Yeah, I mean, for me, I tend to try to stay within myself. I don't really let other people's games bother me too much. I just try to do what I'm supposed to do. So hopefully that works out. I'll try not to get frustrated or anything.

Q. What is your most unusual prematch routine, ritual or superstition?
NAOMI OSAKA: Uhm, I don't really think I have something unusual. I have to listen to the same song going onto the court. But I think that's pretty normal for people.

So, like, in Indian Wells I was kind of getting tired of the song that I was playing because I had to keep listening to it before I played my match. But other than that, there's nothing really too crazy that I do.

Q. What was the song? Why is it that you listen to that one?
NAOMI OSAKA: Because I was winning. The song, I think it was "Big Shot," Kendrick Lamar, okay.

Q. Have you changed since then? Is it a new song now for you?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, of course I had to change because I lost. Every time you lose, you have to change the song that you're listening to. But, yeah, it's changed a lot. That's kind of sad, but it has.

Q. What is the song for Wimbledon 2018 for you?
NAOMI OSAKA: Uhm, I think it's either going to be from Beyonce's new album or Drake's new album, but I didn't choose yet.

Q. Being at Wimbledon and having Sascha, does he bring any different perspective? You can rip on him, if you want.
NAOMI OSAKA: I don't know why, everything he does is so funny to me (laughter). We have this ongoing joke that I tell him: He's like a TV series. Every time he does something, I'm like, Oh, a new episode of Sascha TV, something like that.

I mean, literally every time someone asks me about him, I can't really say anything negative. Like, he's such a nice person. He's always bringing such positive vibes. Sometimes he turns red because I know he wants to tell me something, but he wants me to figure it out. I really appreciate him for that.

Q. Is there anything about Sascha's coaching that has surprised you?
NAOMI OSAKA: I don't want to be mean (laughter). I don't know why, when I first met him, I sort of didn't really expect him to be a good coach. I'm sorry. Because, like, I didn't know if I was just going to hit with him or if he was just actually going to tell me. Like if he knew what he was talking about...

Yeah, in the end he knew what he was talking about. He's totally going to be mad at me for this (smiling). He's a super amazing person, super incredible.

Q. What are your thoughts about what Serena Williams is trying to do, to come back and win Wimbledon as a mom?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, everyone sort of knows this already: But she's my favorite player. I wouldn't have played without seeing her play. I think it's really amazing because I was able to play her in the second tournament she came back. For me, it's one of the best tennis moments of my life.

So, yeah, even to have a chance to play her again, I would be, like, really honored. When I see that she's coming back, I think it's really good.

Q. She was one of your favorites growing up. Do you still find yourself rooting for her when you're watching?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, of course.

Q. What do you make of her getting the 25th seed?
NAOMI OSAKA: Uhm, well, I mean, for me, I don't know how to explain. Like, since I'm so much, like, I love her so much, I think the tournament, they have the decision, right? So if she can get that, and for her to be so good, then I think it's okay.

I don't know what I'm talking about, so I don't think you should care about my opinion (smiling).

Q. You had an abdominal injury, seems like it's been an issue for a while. Are you good at managing injuries, maybe stopping when you need to stop, not overplaying?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I've had this, like, three times. I think this might be the third time or fourth. But, yeah, I mean, I know when it starts. Before I used to try to play through it, but then it just made the healing process really bad.

Now I feel like I'm more sort of accustomed to know when to stop, just trying to figure out how long it's going to take for me to start playing again. It's kind of bad, but I think I'm a professional at seeing if I'm injured or not.

Q. A lot of players will say they'll play through injuries, even people like Djokovic who has been on tour forever. Why is it so difficult to stop, do you think?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, when you're playing, it doesn't feel as bad as it is because I think there's, like, adrenaline and stuff. You can call the trainer on court and they'll give you painkillers.

Also you really don't want to lose, no matter what. I feel like that would be the main reason.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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