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October 25, 2018

Naomi Osaka

Kallang, Singapore

A. KERBER/N. Osaka

6-4, 5-7, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you tell us how are you feeling? Because I think we saw you, like, clutch your left hamstring. Are you feeling okay?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, it's nothing like that concerning, I think. Plus it's like the last tournament of the year, so of course I'm going to, like, play my matches.

Yeah, like, I don't want to tell you something hurts. But it doesn't feel good. So I'm just going to say that.

Q. Just in general, it was a good comeback, but can you talk us through how you felt the match turned?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me I feel like this match was sort of a continuation of my last match in a way that I feel like I just didn't -- like, not that I don't, but I didn't serve well, like, in either of them. In a way I'm very, like, proud of myself for being able to make the matches so close without really having a first serve, but I don't know. I feel like I'm not really sure how that's going wrong, and I want to practice it.

I don't know. Like I'm playing against the best players in the world, so I feel like I want to be in the top form, but I'm not really there. So it's a little bit depressing.

Q. Is it a case of just being tired? What do you think is behind it? Is it just fatigue? As you said, you said it's the last tournament of the season and you're feeling a bit tired?
NAOMI OSAKA: I'm not really too sure. Because regarding my serve, like, from US Open to Tokyo, like, I think in Tokyo I served really well. And then I went to Beijing and I didn't serve that great.

I don't know. I feel like there is a rhythm that I need to, like, get that I haven't really been in touch with for the past few weeks.

Q. How much do you think tonight's outcome came down to experience?
NAOMI OSAKA: I'm not really too sure on that answer, because honestly I feel very old now (smiling).

I don't know. Like I know I had my chances, so I don't want to dwell on that, but I know on the back of my mind, like, I'm not sure what the score was, but in the third set I hit a swing volley, and then she, like, returned it in. So that was definitely a very big chance.

Like I still had, like -- like that's the biggest thing I can remember so far. I'll have to like watch the match to, like, re-enact. I don't want to re-enact. Reimagine it.

Q. Besides the actual tennis, what has this tournament felt like for you? I know you were looking forward to being here. Now that you're two matches in, how does it feel being part of it? Because it's not a typical tournament.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, it feels really cool. I think just the fact that there is only eight players here and they are the very best -- I don't know. Like, it doesn't feel like overcrowded, because typically tournament sites feel very crowded until you get to like the last few days. I think it's really cool that I'm able to be a part of this tournament.

Q. Mentally on the court has that factored in? Has it felt different on the court while you're competing?
NAOMI OSAKA: Like regarding the tournament, or...

Q. Just the kind of pressure. Usually other tournaments you have time playing different kind of players before you're facing a top eight player. From that angle, has it been different?
NAOMI OSAKA: Technically, not really, because for me I literally just got seeded. It hasn't been, like, a year that I have been here. I think in the beginning of the year I was like 70 or something.

So I feel like I have been playing the top players in the first rounds a couple of times, and I think that's something that I'm good at. So playing here, I felt very motivated, and I still feel very motivated. Yeah, I'm excited to play my next match.

Q. You mentioned feeling a bit out of rhythm. Is it something you noticed in Beijing in practice, or is it something that started to come up in matches?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, actually I didn't feel that bad in Beijing. Only the serve part. But the groundstrokes were fine. I just think here, like, for some reason I can't get the timing of the ball on the court, on the groundstrokes or the serves.

So it's a bit strange feeling, like, playing against the top players and then not knowing what you're going to do on the next ball. Yeah, it's been very interesting.

Q. A lot of the big hitters haven't always loved the court. Do you feel like it's the court that is making the timing of it difficult? Because it's a fairly unique surface.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I'm not really too sure on that, because technically I should have an advantage because I have played here before, you know. So I'm not too sure on -- like, I'm not really the court expert.

Q. When you broke Angie when she was serving for the match in the second set and then you took that second set, you had a good stretch of games there. I'm just wondering what you think you did better in that stretch?
NAOMI OSAKA: I think I was just playing more consistent and then, like, when I had the opportunity, I went for it. I wasn't really hesitating too much, because I think in the third set I started hesitating, because I felt like if I went down the line, of course she would get it, and then maybe she would hit like a running, like, winner.

So definitely those things were in my mind in the third set, but in the second set maybe they weren't.

Q. When you look at the scenarios in terms of qualifying for the semis, do you know anything about that or are you not looking at that?
NAOMI OSAKA: Honestly, I didn't -- like, I don't really think too much about it. Like, I know that's a very big deal to qualify and stuff, but for me, I just try to think one match at a time and I'm hoping that it works out for me eventually.

Q. The last two matches we saw you throw your racquets a lot and many interesting moments where you talk to your racquet, you ask why. It's kind of emotional on court. It's because you have very high expectations and you didn't perform well, or just mentally you're during a very stressful time?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, it could be a combination of all of those, because I'm a perfectionist. I expect a lot from myself.

I feel like when other people expect a lot from me, then it sort of doubles. Then I don't know. I internalize a lot of things, and then it just, like, explodes and then I start talking to myself on the court.

But yeah, I mean, regarding stress, I don't know. Like, for me I feel like whenever I want to win badly, then it starts becoming emotional, and I can't really control too much, like when it starts going a bit sideways. Like usually when I win is when I can control it, so I'm just gonna try to do better on that part.

Q. (Question in Japanese.)
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, it was when I was serving and I was, like, 40-15.

Q. (Question in Japanese.)
NAOMI OSAKA: No, not really. I wasn't really planning to go to the net. But it's been something that I wanted to start learning, because I feel like, I don't know, closing the points up and that's something that I'm kind of weak at.

So definitely I wanted to start practicing that, not that I was using today as practice or anything, but I think when you're playing against people that are such good runners, you can't really stay on the back lines too much.

Q. (Question in Japanese.)
NAOMI OSAKA: The thing is, like, if I play against someone like Kerber, I can't necessarily think about outrallying her, so of course I have to be the one that's more aggressive, and definitely I have to be the one that goes for more. I have to accept the unforced errors.

So regarding being more consistent, of course that was on my mind, but I feel like when I had the chances when she was on the run, I had to step in, and maybe if I did that better, the match would have gone a different way. But I wasn't really thinking too much about, like, unforced errors or anything.

Q. (Question in Japanese.)
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, definitely I feel like it's a lot of fun. I think when you're little, when you play your matches, you have dreams of playing against the best players in the world, and I think this tournament gives me the opportunity to do that.

So definitely I have a lot of fun when I'm playing here, and I know it's very challenging, and that's where sometimes I get a little bit temperamental. But I think all in all, there is, like, nowhere I'd want to be, so definitely I have fun.

Q. (Question in Japanese.)
NAOMI OSAKA: The thing is it's like two completely different, like, courts and players. For me, I can't, like, I already know that I'm trying to be as patient as I can be with the circumstances that I am with the timing being so off.

I'm playing like long matches. Like I play hour matches. So this two-hour-something matches is quite new for me.

Yeah, I mean, compared to US Open, it's like -- for me it's like so in the past. So I don't really remember too much. I know that I was trying to be patient, and I know that to be a good player you do have to have a sense of being very consistent.

But I don't know. Like, for me, it's two different places.

Q. (Question in Japanese.)
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, like definitely I feel like it's towards the end of the year, and, like, my body, my body is a little bit, like, Why are you still playing?

But I don't know. Like, for me, it's a new experience. If I were to get into the semis, of course I would fight. I think playing this tournament itself is an honor, so definitely, no matter what happens, I'll try to play my matches.

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