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


May 24, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Paris, France

THE MODERATOR: Questions in English.

Q. You come here now in a different state than you were a year ago. You have had great success on other surfaces. How does that translate on the clay for you? Does it give you more confidence despite the change of surface?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, definitely for me I feel like I should be an all-court player. Honestly, it's been a bit of a ride trying to figure out how to play better on clay throughout these years, but I think this year I have been playing well.

So I'm really excited to see what happens here.

Q. Can you just give an update on the hand? Are you able to hit and practice the way that you want to? How's the body feeling going into Paris?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, my hand is better now. Yeah, I mean, it gets better every day, so hopefully by the time that I play my match, it's 100%. And I practiced for the past two days, so it's going well.

Yeah, I'm currently very cold because I just took an ice bath, but other than that, I feel good.

Q. You practiced at Rafa's academy a little bit in the clay court season. Can you just tell me what that experience was like and meeting Rafa and spending time with him?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I was able to go there for a little bit in between Germany and Spain, even though it's in Spain.

Yeah, it was really nice. Stayed in -- I don't want to call it a dorm. It was more like a hotel that was connected to the training facility, so it was very easy to go from the courts to the room.

Everyone is very nice and helpful. So I was really -- oh, yeah, and then I met Rafa. So that was really cool (smiling).

Q. You always get questions about opponents. Are you impressed by Kiki Bertens? She has the highest ranking ever in our country, fourth place?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for sure, I think that's basically history. And I think for someone to do something that someone's never done before is very exciting, but also, at the same time, I think that's something she should be very proud about herself.

Yeah, I mean, for me, I think we all sort of think about it, you know, in the back of our minds, like, we want to do things that no one else has ever done. So I think for her to be in the position that she is right now is something that she can be very happy about and her family can be very happy about.

Q. Did you walk into the US Open last year thinking, I can win this? And did you walk into the Australian Open this year and say, Yeah, I can win this? Are you walking into this year's French Open saying, I got this?
NAOMI OSAKA: The US Open, no (smiling). The US Open mainly because I lost three matches in a row before that. Honestly I just wanted to play well. Maybe get to the quarters, you know. Just have a good time (smiling). But then I ended up winning.

But actually, in Australia, I was, like, I was the -- the goal was to win. That was what I was waking up every day thinking.

You know, like the walk through the tunnel, like, you see the two trophies. I would kind of tap that, the woman's trophy side.

In the Australian Open, my mindset was very different from the US Open.

For me here, I'm trying to emulate the same mindset. I don't want to be here thinking I want to get to the quarters. Of course I have never been that far here before, but my end goal is to win, of course.

Q. People always say that when you were younger it took you a while to kind of show what you could do. I know you always used to lose to your sister. Why do you think it took you a while to get to where you've gotten to?
NAOMI OSAKA: I'm only laughing because I feel really old, but actually, I'm 21 (smiling). So, like, I feel like when I talk to you guys, it's like I'm talking like I'm a 35-year-old person that's been through a lot.

So for me it's always because I always had really big goals and dreams. I always thought I would be No. 1 and win a Grand Slam when I was 18. I know that sounds kind of crazy. When that didn't happen, I was a little bit depressed. I was thinking, like, I'm late, like, I'm kind of late to the party.

Yeah, then I kind of realize that everyone has their own path. I'm not really supposed to compare myself to anyone else and I should just keep working as hard as I can, and eventually I'll get to where I want to be. Yeah, just sort of enjoy the ride type of thing.

Q. If you're dreaming like that at 18 years old, and now you're 21, two-time major champion, you're No. 1 in the world, you're top seed at a major for the first time. What are the dreams now for you, like, how different does that look? What's the next big major milestone, I guess, for you?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, Roland Garros (smiling). That's, for me, what I'm dreaming about right now.

If you're talking about longer goals, of course I haven't won Wimbledon yet either, and it would be really cool to win everything in one year.

But also, like, the Olympics are coming up, too. We're not forgetting about that. I think there are so many things going on. Actually, since I'm talking about the Olympics, I think tennis players are really fortunate, because we have four big tournaments in a year compared to Olympians that, you know, it's that one shot. Yeah, I'm just focusing on, like -- focusing on a lot at one time.

Q. Following up on that, though, you're an interior kind of person, like, in terms of being a little bit shy or introverted. Where does this ambition kind of come from? A lot of players say it, like, Oh, I want to be No. 1 one day or win a slam one day. Do they actually believe they can? That's a separate question. So for you, where do these kind of big, lofty dreams kind of come from for you?
NAOMI OSAKA: I don't know. Like, it -- I just watch people on TV and when you're little, you think you want to be in their position.

But for me I have always been a believer of you have to say it for it to come true and you have to believe it with all of your heart, because if even 1% of you doesn't believe it, then there is a chance that it won't come true.

I don't know. Like, it's one of those where there is a will there's a way, and even though it might not turn how you wanted it to, you wouldn't have that regret.

Q. Following up from that, do you say your dreams out loud or in the past did you keep them to yourself for longer?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, in the past, I was more reserved. Like, I always wanted to win US Open and Australian but I wouldn't tell anyone, because I wouldn't really believe that I could at the same time. I think it might be a confidence thing, too.

Yeah, this year I called my mom in, like, the second round. I was, like, Do you want to come to Australia because I'm going to win this tournament? She was, like, No. (Laughter.)

She's like, No, I'm with your sister. No thank you.

I was, like, Okay.

Q. What's it like being No. 1? Do you sort of wake up in the morning and remind yourself sometimes, yeah, I have done pretty well, I'm No. 1? Or is the reality different to what you thought it would be like?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, I mean, for me, I don't really feel it. I think I only feel it when I see my name at the top of the draw, but other than that, I'm kind of good in the shadows. Except when I'm talking to you guys and during press, there is more press now than before.

But for me I just play my match, and I go back to the hotel. There's not really anything much that I do that would kind of require me thinking about the No. 1 ranking.

THE MODERATOR: We will move to room 2 for the Japanese press.

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