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October 6, 2018

Naomi Osaka

Beijing, China


6-4, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You called the trainer at the end of the match. Was your back an issue already from the start or it was getting worse in the end?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, if you're talking about this match, then I guess, like, it started getting worse halfway through the first set, or like towards the end of the first set.

But my back's sort of been bothering me since the beginning of the tournament. I'm kind of happy that I was able to get this far.

Q. In a strange way, when you're playing with an injury, does it take the pressure off a little bit because you know you can only do your best but you're hindered?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I get what you're saying. Because for me at that point I could only win doing one thing. I could concentrate all my energy into playing a certain way.

I don't know, though. At a certain point in the second set, I broke her back, then sort of I had pressure again. But yeah, I mean, for a while it was fun (smiling).

Q. What did you feel like you could do on the court today? How did you feel you needed to play this match?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I couldn't really hit that many backhands. I was just trying to go for whatever I can. Like when it went in, it was super exciting. I was trying to go to the net, too. So, yeah, I mean, I was just trying to be very aggressive.

Q. How much pride do you take in being able to do this this week? Obviously it was impressive what you were able to do in Tokyo after New York, but then next event, coming here and making the semifinals here. Do you come out of this event with a different mindset than maybe you had a week ago?
NAOMI OSAKA: Uhm, yeah, I mean, I think definitely as the weeks go by, I have this feeling of wanting to prove myself. I think that sort of takes a toll on me a little bit because I sort of stress myself out in a way.

I think after Tokyo, coming to this tournament, I wasn't really 100% sure I was going to win my first match even. Yeah, I think just to make it this far, hopefully I get to carry this moment.

Q. Is this injury a matter of needing to go and get scans to see if it's serious or is it just a matter of some rest and massage over the next week or two before Singapore?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I got assessed, and I was told that it wasn't, like, a life-threatening injury (smiling). Yeah, I was just told that it's from fatigue, like I've played a lot of matches and stuff. It's basically just a matter of resting.

Q. You seem happier today after losing than you did yesterday when you won. Why is that?
NAOMI OSAKA: You're so mean for that question (laughter).

Uhm, I don't know. I don't really know why I feel happier now. I mean, yesterday I think I was a little bit not ashamed but apologetic for the way -- for me personally, I think I behaved sort of wrong on the court yesterday. I think just taking that and wanting to do better today.

I think even though it wasn't 100% great, I think I did learn from yesterday, and I tried to apply it today. I don't have any regrets from today. I think that's one of the reasons why I'm happier.

Q. You said you feel the pressure to prove yourself. You just won a slam a few weeks ago. Usually that's the pinnacle of success. A lot of times people don't feel like they need to prove themselves immediately after accomplishing something like that. Why do you feel like you carry that pressure forward?
NAOMI OSAKA: Uhm, I'm going to be kind of real with you.

So, like, I think humans are people, they're never happy. And I'm not really talking about myself. I'm just saying, like, from the outside, I guess. Like, if you don't win a tournament, then people will say, Oh, she hasn't won a tournament. If you haven't won a slam, they'll say, She hasn't won a slam. Then if you win one Grand Slam, they're like, Oh, she only won one Grand Slam.

I know it's bad, but I sort of read the comments. I'm just, like, Oh, I guess I have to do more, to be better. I mean, in a way I guess it's good for me because I think that way myself anyways. I think that's one of the things that makes me want to prove myself.

Q. After your huge victory at the US Open, no matter whether you like it or not, you are in the limelight, becoming more a well sought-after athlete. Perhaps you're trying your very best to keep a low profile. But are you used to being south after right now? It's really a fact now, regardless of your preference. Also, how well are you going to be prepared psychologically for the Singapore WTA Finals?
NAOMI OSAKA: I don't really know the sought-after part. You mean like press or something? If it's, like, interviews, then I pretty much have fun doing interviews, so... That's fine for me.

But, like, for Singapore, personally, I think I'm very excited. I think it's just one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that I was able to have. I mean, I'm not there yet, but I'm going to have.

So I think for me, it's just going to be really fun and exciting. I think that I play well when I have those feelings.

Q. I think you were supposed to play Hong Kong. Are you still going or are you changing your schedule?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, we still haven't decided yet, so I'm going to talk to everyone.

Q. On the answer you gave two questions ago about people's expectations: if you won one slam, why haven't you won two. You said you think that way, too. Do you think that's a shame that you think that way? Do you think it's a shame that the comments you read are negative, that people have that expectation? Why can't one slam be good?
NAOMI OSAKA: Uhm, I mean, I feel like I don't think that. Okay, how do I explain?

Like, I can see why people think that way, especially if there's someone that's so hyped. I don't want to say I'm hyped, but I feel like I am right now. So then I think just people keep wanting more.

For me, I don't think that people necessarily understand that in tennis there's good days and bad days. That's part of the process. If you look at me as a whole this year, I think I've definitely improved a lot. So for me, that's good enough, and I'm happy. Every tournament is like a different journey.

I mean, there's not even a slam this year any more. For me, one slam this year is good. Yeah, I'm just trying to take it to next year, see what happens.

But, uhm, I don't know. When I read comments like that, it just confuses me. I don't even feel anything. I just feel, like, confused because I'm not really sure if they know what they're talking about 100% probably, but...

Yeah, I don't know where I'm going with this (smiling).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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