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March 12, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Indian Wells, California

B. BENCIC/N. Osaka

6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Just talk through that, your thoughts on that match this evening.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I think -- I mean, I didn't play that well. That's one of the first things.

But honestly, I think at a time like this with that scoreline, I would usually feel very depressed and sad. But I feel pretty good right now, because I think, given the circumstances, I tried my best and I don't really have any regrets. I tried to be positive throughout the entire match.

Honestly, she was just playing so well, and she's such an incredible player. Yeah, I mean, I think there wasn't anything that I could do in that situation, given how I was playing.

As a whole, I think that that match was quite good.

Q. How would you assess -- this is your first title defense. How would you assess the experience overall? How do you feel like you handled kind of the extra attention, the extra possible pressure over this tournament?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I think I did well. I didn't lose in the first round. That's a plus.

Yeah, honestly, this is one of my favorite tournaments. I think me winning it proved that.

And it's just really exciting to come out here every day and for everyone to be so kind. There were so many fans, I think that that's part of the experience.

Yeah, I think I did well for my first time.

Q. She's a unique player in terms of how she can hold that baseline and take the ball incredibly early. What was it like to face it when she's playing that well?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, it's really difficult. I feel like I was going back, and then I started playing defensive, which isn't something that I should be doing, given how my game is.

I felt like, you know, she had control when the point started. I was trying to -- I think I was trying to be too aggressive in the beginning. And then towards the end, I tried to make a few more shots and mix up the depth. I think she was prepared for that, too.

Q. Could you, in some way, compare yourself now with who you were a year ago when you were No. 44, quite a bit less well-known? Just talk about the change in you as a person and a player.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I guess one of the biggest things is I wanted to be more mature. I feel like this is something I'm still working on, on and off the court. It's one of the biggest goals that I have had my entire life.

Yeah, I guess maturity level, because I might have thrown a few tantrums last year. And this year it's something that I'm working on improving, and I feel like it's going well.

Yeah, I think I'm just more confident in myself. I think for me I care a lot about -- well, not that I care a lot about, but I feel like results sort of push me in a way, and I always want to keep doing better. Yeah.

Q. Being a two-time Grand Slam champion now and coming out on the court as the No. 1 player in the world, do you allow that to instill you with confidence? Or do you feel more of a burden of expectation? Or is it sort of a blend of the two?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, I think winning US Open prepared me for this. But for me, it felt very strange last night. I didn't even notice that they were saying World No. 1 until I was playing my match yesterday. And I was, like, wow, I guess I really am No. 1, you know. And then that was the only moment that sort of shocked me.

But after that, I don't really feel too much pressure. I think I felt a lot of pressure in Dubai, but for me, I'm able to get over it after a really tough match.

No, I think I'm good.

Q. You come across as very insightful and probably a quick learner. How much of the coaching change is also about not becoming predictable and just having variation in your game, a new voice in your head?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I think for me that's very important. I know everyone probably already knows how I play by now. I think it's to have a little bit of, like, changes in the arsenal instead of just hitting hard all the time. I think that's definitely something I want to improve on. I have been dropshotting a little bit here and there.

So I'm just doing that and just keeping people on their toes, I think, is very important.

Q. In that same vein, you obviously played great tennis early in the tournament, ran into a hot player tonight. Do you think it's going to take a little bit of time to adjust to the changes in the team and things you have done a bit differently in the last month and a half or so or not really?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I think it's always a bit tricky whenever you, like, change someone in the team, but I feel like for a first tournament we did really well. We communicate well. So I think that's a really big plus. I don't think it's going to be difficult.

I think that we are all sort of on the same page, and we are all looking forward to Miami. Yeah, I think it should be good.

Q. You said you do well at tournaments that you like. How do you feel about Miami Open?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me, Miami is a tournament that I grew up watching. Since I live in South Florida, I literally went to the venue and watched all the pros, and I always wanted to be like them. I'm fortunate enough to be in this situation now.

But I know that they changed the site, so it should be interesting to see, though I did go there, actually, once.

But yeah, it should be really exciting. I think everyone is looking forward to it.

Q. As the No. 1 player, you're playing on some of the biggest stages and venues at each of the tournaments. Did making the shift from playing on Stadium 1 to Stadium 2 impact your play today at all?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, I don't think so. For me, I'll play the same on Court 1 as I do on Court 24. I don't really care about how big the court is. I just care about how I play, like, during the match. I don't think it changed anything.

(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I just think it was sort of straight off the bat for my first service game. She sort of came out there really aggressive. I think that she sort of knew what she wanted to do more than me.

I knew that she was going to play close to the line, but for some reason I didn't really expect it to be that flat. I don't know why. I know what her grip looks like, but I still didn't expect it to be that flat.

Yeah, I think that was one of the more surprising things.

Yeah, I mean, for me, I feel like there is no anonymity. I don't think there is that for me anymore. That was something that I used in my advantage maybe when I was like 18, 19. But I think now there is way too many videos and too many people have watched my matches.

But I feel like the way that I play, it shouldn't matter if you know how I play, if you know every move that I make, because I should be strong enough to hit really good shots.

So, yeah, I think that that's something that I have to work on, not worrying too much about what the other person does.

Yeah, I mean, he was definitely really positive and he helped me out. I think I just really -- I don't know. I just really needed a second opinion, because I tend to doubt myself at times, and he just came really positive. He told me a lot of helpful things that I tried to apply, but I don't think I did well enough. So all credit to him.

Yeah, I mean, she doesn't really hit hard-hard, but I think that the placement and the mix-up is good, because sometimes she hits it slow, and then sometimes she will go for an ace. I think that's one of the things that she does really well.

Oh, you heard that? Oh, okay.

No, I think the first time I said "Welcome to the trash can." And then the second time, I was, like, "I'm having a midlife crisis" or something.

I say that just sort of to, like, break the ice, because I'm not sure -- I feel like sometimes coaches come, and I see that -- like, when you watch on-court coaching, the coaches come and the player is super stressed out. This was like the second time he came on court for me, on-court coaching. I just wanted to break the ice and stuff.

Yeah. I'm not sure if he was, like, shocked, like he didn't think I was joking. I hope he did, because that would be kind of terrible if he didn't think I was joking.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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