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June 17, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Birmingham, England

Q. How are you feeling ahead of the grass?
NAOMI OSAKA: I don't know. You know grass, I'm not really that comfortable with it. And it's always the first tournament that's the hardest. So, yeah, I have only practiced twice on grass because it was raining a lot. So, yeah, I guess I'm feeling as good as I can.

Q. What is it about grass that particularly you find challenging?
NAOMI OSAKA: It's just really different to everything that I have ever played on because at least on clay... It's similar to green clay which I kind of grew up playing, but grass, I have never, like, as a little kid, I have never played on grass so...

Q. You have had your best clay season so are you hoping maybe you can have your best grass season?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean for sure every year I want to improve on something, whether it's results-wise, or just in playing in general. So definitely I want to go into each season trying to play as well as I can and better than the last year, so that's definitely a goal.

Q. Do you enjoy the challenge of trying to master something that maybe isn't that comfortable?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yes, for me, that's sort of what sports is and athletics in general. I think we really enjoy the challenge and the fight so...

Q. At the French Open you said a weight had been lifted off your shoulders, and you had been thinking a lot about the calendar slam. Do you feel less pressure now coming into the grass season because of that?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yes, I mean, I can only say that I feel less pressure, but when it's time to actually play, maybe I will feel pressure. But for me I'm kind of focussing on enjoying everything as it comes.

I kind of realise that like I have my own path to take. I'm not necessarily following anyone else, like I can try, but it won't exactly go like that so, yeah, I'm trying to have fun right now.

Q. As you don't feel particularly comfortable on grass, do you feel like you can take each match on grass as a learning experience and improve as you go?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me every match I play is a learning experience, of course. But it's funny, whenever I come to grass I can only like remember the last match I played which is always Wimbledon and last year I played against Kerber and she kind of crushed me (smiling). So that is the thing that I remember the most.

So I'm going to try and think about that match of course, but think about everything that I did, like sort of improved during the year.

Q. Now that you have won Grand Slams since last summer, does that change the way that you are, or does it consolidate exactly the way you are mentally and how you approach tournaments?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I just feel like it gives me more belief in myself. Like, even when I'm down, I feel like I can pick myself back up and other than that I don't necessarily think my mindset has changed that much.

Q. And also how do you cope with the rain that we have over here, especially when you need to get practice? We have had quite a lot of it in the last couple of weeks. Is that also hard to keep finding ways to play? If you have to keep going indoors, how does that affect you in your time in practice?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, it's definitely challenging, but I have to think that everyone else here sort of has to go through it and I can't be the only one complaining and it is not necessarily my character anyway.

So, yeah, it just means everyone spends more time together in the players' lounge (smiling).

Q. Is that a good thing?
NAOMI OSAKA: It gets busy (laughing).

Q. How did life look like after you left Paris? Did you get a chance to go home and see the dog?
NAOMI OSAKA: I went home and I sort of just chilled for a week.

Q. How long do you like to take off before you go back into practice? Do you sort of feel twitchy after a week, or could you just not practice forever?
NAOMI OSAKA: Actually that week was the first time I took a complete week off and, honestly, I haven't felt like I rested ever. Like, I have never took a vacation, so that was sort of my mini vacation in a way.

It was kind of refreshing because I felt like since the US Open things have been going so fast, so I felt like I really needed a break and I think it was good for me.

Q. Sorry to bring it back to the grass. But you were saying that when you arrive on grass, your last memory is of the last match you played on grass. You mentioned it was a heavy defeat to Kerber at Wimbledon. Is that difficult when you come back to a surface and your last memory, the last match you played on that surface, is not necessarily a good one?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, I mean for me it's better because I can think about all the things I should improve on, as opposed to, like, winning (laughing). And I know I don't do that often (smiling). So I don't have to deal with that.

Yeah, for me, if I think about things that I have done wrong, as opposed to things that I have done right, it is a bit easier to, like, what's it called, point out.

Q. You have spoken about how music is important to you during a tournament? What are the latest songs on your playlist?
NAOMI OSAKA: (Smiling) I have this playlist that I call 'sad', it's titled 'sad', but it is not necessarily sad, it just helps me go to sleep so I have been listening to that a lot.

Q. What's on it?
NAOMI OSAKA: A lot of -- there's this guy named Jogi, she's like half Japanese, half American, I think. She has a lot of, like, good sleepy songs.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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