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May 16, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Rome, Italy

N. OSAKA/M. Buzarnescu

6-3, 6-3

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Talk through your last two days, what it was like waiting around yesterday, what it was like today playing twice.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, it's a bit unusual for me because I've never played two rounds in one day. I think this is the first time. So that was very different.

Yeah, yesterday was a little bit hard because, like, I didn't even practice yesterday. I wasn't really sure what to expect. I was just laying here like kind of sleeping, waiting to see if they were going to cancel the matches.

Yeah, it turned out fine for me in the end.

Q. Were you doing anything to kill the time besides semi-sleeping?
NAOMI OSAKA: Today or yesterday?

Q. Yesterday.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yesterday? Watching YouTube, the normal stuff.

Q. Any particular good content?

Q. Two good wins, straight-set wins, quite rare on the tour today. How much does a day like today help your confidence in this tournament? If you could just kind of look ahead to Kiki tomorrow.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, today I think really helped my confidence because last year I didn't do so great. I mean, I won a round, but then I lost pretty badly in the next one. Definitely I was just trying to do better than last year and improve how I play on clay.

I think just to get a straight-set win over both of them. Cibulkova I played in Madrid. It was really close, the second set. I was keeping that in mind when I was playing against her today.

Then Michaela, I played her on grass. I expected a different match. That's sort of what I got.

I played -- I don't know if I played Kiki officially. I know I've practiced with her before. Yeah, she's definitely playing really well these past few months. Even last year she won Madrid. I know she's a really good clay court player.

I'm just going to sort of be thrown into the match tomorrow, just see what happens.

Q. Can you tell us something more about Kiki. Did you notice her development through the years? How do you see her as a tennis player?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I think one of the biggest things I notice about her is that she looks more fit now than she did a few years ago. She just looks really strong. That helps her, like, movement-wise, for sure, just sort of getting in and out of the corners.

I don't really know this for sure, for sure, but everyone says it, like she has one of the better serves on tour. Actually that's a fact because I did practice against her. It is true (smiling).

Yeah, I mean, she has, like, an all-court game. She's able to slice, hit dropshots. It's definitely a really big threat.

Q. About a month into this time of the year, how are you feeling about your clay court comfort level?
NAOMI OSAKA: Anything's better than last year. But yeah, I mean, I feel pretty good. Semis, quarters, hopefully farther than quarters. I think that's good for me. I've never done this well on clay. I'm obviously looking to progress more.

I think as the years go by, I'll be more comfortable on it. Same with grass. But for now, I'm sort of taking it one day at a time.

Q. How have you progressed? What is different from last year?
NAOMI OSAKA: I think, like, one of the biggest things is instead of complaining about it, I'm just trying to figure out how to adapt to it. This is, like, an inevitable part of the season. This is clay season, I can't just skip this entire swing.

I also feel like I want to be, like, a player that's great on all surfaces. I think one of the biggest steps is, of course, starting to do well on clay, learning how to adapt.

I'm hitting you guys with some big words today (smiling).

Q. You said before the tournament, and in Madrid, you wanted to be top seed in Roland Garros. With Simona losing, looks like that will be the case. Talk about crossing off something like that, another milestone? What do you think it will mean for you to go into that tournament No. 1?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, after Madrid I kind of stopped thinking about it because I feel like after I was No. 1, I kept escaping her being No. 1 by just like a split. Every week it was like a, Whoo! Then I'm, like, thinking to myself, I came to No. 1 by winning a Grand Slam, so obviously I need to win stuff to stay there.

I shouldn't just think about, like, if I win one match then I can stay. I have to think about winning tournaments. That's sort of what I've been thinking about this entire tournament.

Of course, it's relieving to hear you say that because that definitely was a very big goal of mine. For now, I'm just trying to take it one match at a time.

Q. Different topic. How was Coachella?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, okay. It's one of those things you have to go there once in your life. Once you go there, there's either two people: one is the people that really don't like it, and one is the people that love it. I'm the person that didn't like it because you know how I am with people. There's a lot of people. Kind of smells funky everywhere.

I don't know. It was interesting.

Q. Do you have any plans in Europe to watch the Detective Pichaku movie?
NAOMI OSAKA: I really want to. I promised somebody that I would wait. It's really killing me because you guys keep asking. I see the trailers. It looks so great.

No, I'm going to wait.

(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, yesterday I got back to the hotel at, like, 6 or 7. That's around the time that I saw the schedule. Yeah, the initial reaction, I was kind of complaining that I was at 10. Now that I'm thinking about it, it's better that I was early or else I would still be playing now. That would kind of mess up my whole sleep schedule.

It was actually a blessing in disguise. But my initial reaction was, like, I was a little bit disappointed because I would have to wake up earlier, so...

Yeah, I mean, the first match I prepared like normal. Did the warmup, did the stretching, stuff like that. I've played her recently so I kind of went into the match just trying to improve on the things that I've done wrong in the previous match.

After I finished the first match, I don't know, I just ate and sort of just laid around waiting for the next round. I did like a shorter warmup because I didn't really feel like it was necessary to go through the whole thing because I was already kind of warm from the day, so...

Like, if you're talking about Super Series, like Women's Open back when I was 13 or something, 12, definitely I think I have played two matches in a day. I can remember that, because my mom would pack spaghetti lunches and we would wait.

No, I think this is the first time for me in, like, a WTA setting.

No, I think for me, what I wanted to focus on, like carrying on from the Cibulkova match, was my serve. Like, even in Madrid, I thought the last match that I lost, my serve was sort of disappointing. Coming into the matches here, I just really wanted to focus on that part.

I think it's been working really well. It was weird today because they played so differently. Like, Cibulkova is sort of more of a rally-er. Buzarnescu was sort of attacking me a lot. I felt like I was on my heel. Yeah, it was kind of hard to adjust to that.

No, I mean, I didn't feel like there was anything concerning that was happening to me. Definitely it's a little bit stressful if I thought that way. Thankfully I didn't. But, yeah, I can see where that question stems from, especially since I have to serve a lot throughout two matches. For now, I don't feel anything.

For me, it's the match I played against Donna in Stuttgart. Not even the fact that I came back from 5-1. It was just the fact that I felt like I was playing really well. It was just a high-quality match.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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