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January 1, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

N. OSAKA/D. Aiava

6-3, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: First question for Naomi.

Q. Did you feel, Naomi, at times that you were playing almost a player that was playing the same exact type of tennis as you tonight? She seems to match you a lot in power and the way that she plays the game.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah. I mean this was sort of like why I felt like I feel old a little bit because like it was kind of like a younger me in a way. And I felt like when I was playing her she sort of matched my power, which was really surprising to me, because there was not that many people that can do that. So I'm really interested to see how she does like in the future.

Q. Did you know much about her before today?
NAOMI OSAKA: I've seen her every time I go to like this Australian swing, like the Australian Open. And then I watched her play Halep in the first round. And I thought it was pretty amazing that she went to three sets and I didn't. So, yeah. I've been watching her for a while.

Q. How did you feel about your own performance? It seemed like a strong win for yourself.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah. It's always great to start with a win. I was really nervous coming out here because I felt like this is one of the matches I'm expected to win. But playing against someone like her who's a bit unpredictable and very strong, it was like one of those moments where I felt like I just have to stay really calm, but I couldn't. So I'm just really happy that I could play well.

Q. When you feel those nerves today, does it feel more like you're internally producing them or how are you sort of managing that part of this new-found level of your tennis?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean for me it's a little bit similar to after Indian Wells, because I've never won a tournament like that before. So it's sort of that same feeling of entering the tournament and having like a bit of expectation. So like after US Open I didn't really have it because I was used to it after Indian Wells. So I'm assuming it's going to be the same thing that the next match I play I'll be fine, but I think maybe because it was the new year and the first match back, I was really nervous like this.

Q. Was there stuff that you had worked on really hard in the off season that you felt like you were able to translate into today's match, like things that you saw pay off?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean I would have said my serve, but I didn't really serve that much during off season, because I hurt my shoulder a little bit. So honestly, I was just really glad that I could serve well today. But I think one of the things that I was working on more is like trusting my fitness level. And even though it didn't seem like it because I was blasting half of the balls, I was trying to construct the point a little bit, so I think that's what mattered to me the most.

Q. Just coming back to Destanee, you said you're quite interested to see where she can take it. Given she's only 18, do you think she's someone that can have quite a big future?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean I'm not going to be the one that like, you know, is the mentor person that like says, oh, you can do it or you can't. I feel like she's here already. She qualified. It's not like she got a wild card. She qualified and she won a round, and it's pretty obvious the potential that she has. And for me I feel like every person is different, and that's what is interesting because we all grow in separate ways and we all develop into different players. So for sure I think that she can do it. And it's more up to her than anyone else.

Q. If she were to ask you for one piece of advice, what would you tell her?
NAOMI OSAKA: Don't ask me for advice. (Laughs). No, I mean I would just say to just keep playing. For me, when I was her age, I -- oh, God, when I was her age. I mean, I went through a lot of ups and downs. And that's normal. And then just suddenly -- it's not out of nowhere but kind of out of nowhere I had the 2016 when I was 18. So I think you can only just keep trusting the process. And when you're young, it's a little bit hard to forget that. I mean it's hard to -- what am I saying. It's easy to forget because you're so in the moment, but when you look back, it's like a gradual like hill that you're climbing.

Q. Can I ask you a bit of a random question. Did you notice the Totoro Song played on the last changeover at all?
NAOMI OSAKA: You're kidding. Oh, no. What does it sound like?

Q. (Nonaudible).
NAOMI OSAKA: One more time for the people in the back.

Q. I was just wondering if you heard it.
NAOMI OSAKA: Were they doing it on purpose, do you think?

Q. I don't think they play it for any other player.
NAOMI OSAKA: But why that song for me then?

Q. That's a question for the tournament D.J. I was just wondering if you had heard it.
NAOMI OSAKA: No. I wasn't listening to the music, because I was hearing on the other court, I think Kokkinakis was playing, so then I would randomly hear "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!" That was more what I was paying attention to. I know it's bad to be paying attention to another court. No, I wasn't really listening to it. Can you do it one more time? (Laughs).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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