home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 23, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

N. OSAKA/E. Svitolina

6-4, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Just curious, when you were talking to the chair ump when Elina was getting medical treatment, what were you guys talking about?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, I just asked him if I can go to the bathroom without it counting as a bathroom break.

Q. How does it feel to be in the semis? How did you feel about the way you played today?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, it feels really good. This is something that I have been working on a lot, which is, like, trying to get deeper in tournaments more consistently. I think I have been able to do that.

But, yeah, for me right now I just try to keep looking forward. So I'm not really satisfied -- like, I am happy that I'm here, but at the same time, I want to keep going. There is more matches to win.

Q. In that first set it seemed like on the forehand side everything was working pretty well. The backhand was letting you down at times. But in the end, those two key points, the break point, everything, it came through. Can you talk through just your frustration of kind of working through that in that set?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, playing against Elina is very tough, because she sort of takes your peace. And sometimes if I hit hard, she just takes that and hits it right back at me. Especially on the backhand side, it's very difficult because she just stays crosscourt.

And then sometimes I feel like I have to go down the line early, and I think that's what I was doing wrong in the first set, so it was, like, a little bit of a tactic change.

Q. Has there been a change in your mindset since you won the US Open in that now, like, you wouldn't be satisfied with less than winning another title?
NAOMI OSAKA: Not necessarily, because I already know, like, that to be here is something that a lot of people want, and I know that a few months ago I would have given anything to be in the semifinals of a slam.

But it's, like, this weird feeling of, like, you want to do the next big thing. And especially now that I won a Grand Slam, and I feel like I want to win another one, and I'm so close and I just want to keep going. Yeah.

Q. I don't know how aware you are of your own stats, but you have won a lot of matches in a row after winning the first set. Are you aware of that when you're on the court? Once you have taken a set ahead, does it play in your mind, or did you not even know that you had that stat?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, I didn't know. But for me, I feel like when I win the first set, it's sort of smooth after, because I learn a lot in the first set anyways. I can just take everything that I learned and try to finish quicker in the second set (smiling).

Q. Today after you finished, you said you were happy about not getting angry, that that's what you wanted to do. But your anger, as much as we have seen it, like, seems pretty muted compared to the behavior of other folks. Sascha actually told me, you know, he doesn't see a problem if you, you know, if you get angry and you kind of express that emotion and get it out and then just move on. Like, why is that something that's kind of in your head that you're thinking about as far as, like, maybe not wanting to show that?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, because for me I feel like most people, like right now, most people know me for US Open, right? And during US Open, I didn't show any emotions most of the time.

But then after that, I did show, well, in my opinion, it was a lot of emotions. Like, I got upset, and then I threw my racquet or stuff like that. And, for me, I don't really want to do that. Like, I feel like I play better when I'm calm.

When I'm not calm, it just makes my life harder. So I just try to, like, there is an inner peace I can tap into sometimes during my matches, and it's kind of hard to get to, but once I'm there, it's really easy. Not easy, but nothing can really bother me. So that's just something that I'm trying to learn how to do consistently.

Q. How do you do that?
NAOMI OSAKA: I don't know. It's, like, random. Sometimes it's here; sometimes it's not.

Q. How long did it take you after the US Open to start doing that next big thing?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I mean, I played Tokyo right after, and I really wanted to win that. And then I got to the final, but I think I put too much pressure on myself.

Honestly, this is the next Grand Slam after US Open. I'm not sure if it's counting as the next big thing, but I'm still here, so hopefully my mentality is focused on this.

Q. Serena is a set back at the moment, but if she was to come through, a lot happened in that last matchup between you guys. Do you think that would be a difficult match to approach, given what happened there? Do you think she'd be really, really desperate to get one over on you, having lost to you twice last year?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I mean, I can't speak for her, but for me, it's always a really big privilege and an honor to play her. For me, I have been watching her since I have grown up.

Honestly, I feel very lucky I've gotten to play her twice already. If I do play her, I'm just going to be looking forward to it.

Q. You talked about how you learn from the first set you play and go forward into the second set. Can you tell us how you did that process for this match today?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, everyone knows my backhand was a little bit inconsistent in the first set. I think I was making too many unforced errors on the serve. Like, her serve. Like, service return.

So, yeah, in the second set I just tried to play more and see if she's gonna hit winners or not.

Q. I will ask you about your thoughts on Karolina, should you play her in the semifinal.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I have played her a couple times already. She's really tough to play. Like, I can barely read her serve, so it's very difficult for me.

Like, I see now that she doesn't hit too many unforced errors, which is a little bit dangerous. But definitely if I play her, too, I'm looking forward to it, because she also -- I have never really seen her get angry, and I think that would be a really good match to watch.

Q. You mentioned the other day you spend a lot of time during tournaments in your down time watching YouTube. Have you had a chance to look at Stefanos' YouTube channel yet?
NAOMI OSAKA: I did, like, a couple months ago, I think. But I haven't recently.

Q. What did you think of it?
NAOMI OSAKA: When I watched it, it seemed like he put a lot of effort into it, so I thought that that was really cool, because that's, like, something to channel all your energy into aside from playing tennis.

But I haven't looked at recently, so I don't know. What is everyone else seeing?

Q. People are loving it.
NAOMI OSAKA: Okay. I have to look at it later (smiling).

(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, definitely I think hard court is for sure the court that I'm most comfortable on. Everyone knows this. Yeah, I mean, I do have a certain level of confidence whenever I play anyone on hard court. I think I have won the most matches on here, so definitely I think I can beat anyone.

Yeah, I have played Svitolina a couple of times now, and it's been back and forth a lot. And every time I have played her, it's always been super difficult for me, because she gets every ball back and she doesn't really make mistakes.

Today I just wanted to go in there to play, like, at a higher pace than I normally do. I don't normally play at this high of a pace. But I wanted to she how she would do. Yeah, just basically try to go in if she hits short. That was my game plan. Other than that, the rest was a little bit instinctive. So I was counting on my serve and my service return, too.

Yeah, I mean, his birthday is on the 23rd. Today's the 23rd, right? Wait, it's not the 23rd? Yeah, it is. Okay. You guys are liars (smiling).

Yeah, I mean, I was also really wanting to win this match because it was his birthday, and I think he would have been watching. I'm not sure if he's busy right now, but hopefully he got the message.

Yeah, I mean, in the last game of the first set, I did, I got really tight. I think I just got nervous because I had so many break opportunities, and I was always thinking, maybe I should go for this shot, or maybe I should wait. And I never really did with 100% conviction.

So when I went back, I just thought that I have to play, like, without any hesitation, and I think that's how I won the set.

And then, like, the mentally -- maybe I grew up one year, Happy birthday to me. So four? I don't know.

Well, I mean, for me, I have been playing players that are very consistent. Started even with the first match with Magda, and then it kept going. I haven't really played any power-power players. I know Su-Wei is, she hit kind of flat and hard, but I don't really think she's regarded as a power player.

Honestly, it's been a good draw for me to come up like this and get used to players that hit with more consistency and don't make as many unforced errors.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297