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May 12, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Rome, Italy

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Is the third time you play in Rome. Do you know the city? Is there anyplace you want to visit in these days?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I wanted to go to the Coliseum. I've been there once before, but it was the first time I went. So, yeah, I kind of want to visit there again.

Q. You switched from adidas to Nike. Why?
NAOMI OSAKA: That was a very blunt question (smiling).

I don't know. I guess it's because growing up all of the people I idolized were wearing Nike. I think that was a big influence on that.

Q. Do you think the US Open final made you a stronger player and a stronger person, as well?

Q. I think you said you weren't so comfortable on the clay after the last couple tournaments. Are you starting to feel a little bit more comfortable out there on this surface?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me, I feel like I had a big training block in L.A. before I went to Germany. I think that definitely helped a lot.

Yeah, I feel more comfortable on it. I also feel like I'm more sort of accepting the fact that it's not my greatest surface, so I'm more willing to do, like, different things to learn.

Q. Which is the most difficult thing for you on clay, is to slide, to stay in the rallies for more time or what?
NAOMI OSAKA: I think it's when the ball bounces differently from what I expect. I don't really have a problem with long rallies or sliding any more, so...

Yeah, like since clay is bumpy compared to hard court, you don't really know how the ball is going to bounce. I think that's the most difficult part.

Q. Since you changed coaches, have you changed also training routines? Have you changed something that was making you getting to the world No. 1, now you're trying to adjust to a new team?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I mean, training is the same because I have the same trainer. But, of course, since I changed coaches, the practices are going to be different. I feel like Indian Wells, Miami, we really had to get adjusted to each other. I think that it showed in my results.

I think now we understand each other more. Yeah, I think we're all doing better.

Q. With Serena back, she hasn't played since Miami, is there still that fear factor around her, even though she hasn't played that much, had some physical problems recently?
NAOMI OSAKA: I didn't know that she had physical problems recently.

I don't know because, for me, ever since I was young, I know she doesn't play that many tournaments. I didn't really think too much about it. I know that she plays the tournaments before the Grand Slams, then she wins the Grand Slams. That's sort of what she does (smiling).

I didn't really think too much about it.

Q. How important is it for you to still be No. 1 after this tournament? Is it something you don't really think about compared to playing better, adjusting to clay better for Roland Garros?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me, I really want to be No. 1 for French. That's one of my biggest goals. At the same time I know there's steps that I have to take to reach that goal.

One of the steps is, like, playing well because I need to play well to win the matches. Yeah, of course I'm thinking short-term and long-term. I definitely am thinking about keeping the No. 1 ranking.

Q. Do you like to read books? Are you reading something these days?
NAOMI OSAKA: Actually I haven't read books in a while. I didn't really feel like I had the time recently.

Q. Speaking about your free time, did you have the time to see the movie Pokémon Detective Pikachu?
NAOMI OSAKA: Did it come out?

Q. Yes, yesterday in the U.S.
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, did it come out here?

Q. In Italy, I don't think so.
NAOMI OSAKA: How was I supposed to see it in the U.S. if I'm here (smiling)?

No, I haven't seen it. But it's definitely one of the movies I was looking forward to watching.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Japanese.

(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: I don't know. I just feel like it's the way not necessarily how you perceive yourself but how other people perceive yourself, even outside of tennis. Like people are talking or whatever, and then they would be talking about you. I feel like there's a big difference between saying No. 1 in the world versus No. 2. You know what I mean?

I think it's little stuff like that. And for me, like, after the Australian they said that I was going to be No. 1. But for me, I feel like the biggest impact would be, like, being seeded No. 1 in a Grand Slam. That was always something that was on my mind.

Of course, I've been telling people, like, I don't really care about rankings as long as I can get into a tournament. I feel like that is true.

At the same time, like, everyone knows this is about me: the Grand Slams are the things that I care about the most. It's always been a dream for me. Hopefully I'm able to do that.

Yeah, I mean, of course for me I would love to have the career Grand Slam. It would be even better to make it a calendar. That's definitely my goal.

At the same time, I don't really want to put too much pressure on myself like that because I feel like in the end I play my best when I'm enjoying myself. I feel like that's why I always do well in Grand Slams, because I always have fun there.

Yeah, I just think about that and think about, like, how many other people would love to be in the position that I am in. I'm really, like, fortunate to be here. Yeah, just kind of relaxing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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