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August 14, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Cincinnati, Ohio

N. OSAKA/A. Sasnovich

7-6, 2-6, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Can you just talk through the match? How do you think you were able to settle yourself and reset for the third set? You were giggling a lot in the first set and we were wondering what was going on internally.
NAOMI OSAKA: You'll never know that (smiling).

Yeah, I mean, for me I think I just wanted to carry on like the sort of happy laughing vibe from Toronto, but I think I was a bit too, like, giggly. Like, I wasn't really sure -- there were some points I didn't really have to laugh but I did, because it was either that or, like, get a little frustrated.

So it was a bit hard kind of juggling that. Then in the second set I think I did better in that aspect where I was just trying to focus and not laugh so much.

Q. What were you laughing off? Your errors? Or just thinking about other things?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, I mean, some of them I was laughing at my errors because it was so ridiculous, and then other times I was just laughing because, like, I was in a good mood.

Q. Your coach came out and sort of told you to stop laughing. He seemed confused why you were laughing so much. Seemed like you slowed down your laughing after that. Then you said on court afterwards you didn't want to be too serious. I'm just curious if this is sort of a tactical part of your game, the amount of laughing you have to do. It's a new dimension. How did you manage that going forward?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me, I think everyone knows when I play well is when I'm calm, right? But it's been a bit hard to get back to that mindset, because I'm not necessarily sure. For me, when I'm calm, it's just when I have this very -- I'm very sure of what I'm doing. It's a bit hard to be very sure what I'm doing when, like, things aren't going my way sometimes.

I'm just basically trying to adjust with what's going on right now. I never really thought of it as tactical. I just thought it was, like, my way of coping with the situation.

Q. You played her a few times before. Do you feel like she brought anything different to the match today?
NAOMI OSAKA: Not really. I think she tried to be more aggressive on my serve than before, but I don't know. The last time I played her was on clay, so I can only refer to that, but that was so different because she was more defensive that time.

Q. You play Su-Wei next. You played her in Miami and Australia. Each won one of them. She's a tricky player.
NAOMI OSAKA: I played her in Germany.

Q. That's right. What do you expect from that match? And what's it like playing her four times in a year, you get to? She's a unique experience, but you have been getting a lot of it.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I never know what to expect with her. That's kind of the fun part, so I expect that I'll laugh a lot because there are things that are out of my control.

But, yeah, I mean, whenever I play her, it's just -- the last time I played her in Miami, I just remember being frustrated. I think everyone could see that. So I think the time after that in Germany I was just trying to be focused, and I won that match. I'll just try to carry that on.

Q. Today the Nishis had a match and Yoshi won.
NAOMI OSAKA: What did you just...

Q. The Nishis.

Q. Do you know Yoshi much at all?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, he's really nice. It was actually a bit tough because they're both very nice. They're kind of the only two guys that I kind of talk to. Whoa. No, strike that. That could be misquoted.

No, I just mean, like, I don't really talk to a lot of people, and especially -- they're both very nice, so it was hard for me, like, to choose who to root for. It's nice seeing Yoshi -- do I also call him Nishi? What do you want me to say? Okay. It's nice seeing Yoshi do well, because he got injured in Miami right when he was, like, about to take off. Yeah, I mean, it's really nice seeing that.

Q. You said Kei is a bit like a kid. How would you describe Yoshi?
NAOMI OSAKA: You're exposing me (smiling).

It's just he's so easygoing. I think for the level of athlete that he is, it's so nice and refreshing to see that. He's just so easy to talk to. Just very approachable.

Q. Your assessment of the match? You got the win but were broken a few times. How do you feel about your performance on court today?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, it's the first match I have ever won here in the main draw, so I can't be too hard on myself, even though I naturally am.

I would have loved to not get broken. I think the first set there was the 5-5 game I got broken there. I think I could have avoided that easily if I would just, you know, kind of put my head straight or put my head in the game more. I think that's something that I learn as I play more matches. Hopefully I'll have that opportunity.

Q. When you say you're hard on yourself, how long do you hang on to that before you move on?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, how long do we have (smiling)?

No, like, a solid two hours. I can't really think too much on this because I have a match tomorrow, so...

Q. I'm curious, your former coach Sascha came out with a book in Japanese related to your time you two spent together.
NAOMI OSAKA: Man, you're shady.

Q. Just curious what you make of that or if you read it. Were you surprised he came out with it in Japanese or what you make of it?
NAOMI OSAKA: Man, you're shady.

I haven't read it. Don't plan on reading it.

Q. Moving forward now in preparation for your match tomorrow, is there anything specific that you will refine or work on?
NAOMI OSAKA: I think for me -- I mean, not really anything specific. Just I guess someone is going to slice to me, because I have to get ready for that from her.

Q. You started talking about wanting to keep up being happy on court. A mood is something that happens to you. Just wondering how you influence and effect your mood into it being positive?
NAOMI OSAKA: I just think about all my life experiences, I think. Especially, like, the Wimbledon match I played. For me, that was very rough, because normally I love Grand Slams. I love playing on the big courts.

But for some reason when I was there, I wasn't, like, enjoying it at all. Like, I was playing my match on, you know, the Centre Court in Wimbledon, and honestly, I would have rather be anywhere else.

So I was just thinking about that, and, like, thinking about all the opportunities that I was given and, like, how I'm kind of ungrateful for it.

Like, when I lost in the first round, I was just, like, I need to start having fun, because, you know, you train your whole life for moments like that, and if you're not happy in those moments, then there's no point.

(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: I don't really care about the rankings anymore. I don't think too much about it. For me, I just try to focus on every match, because I know that every one that I play from now on they're going to be playing really well. And I'm not, like, a surprise anymore. Everyone by now knows my game, and I have to play, like, just basically play as well as I can every match.

Yeah, I mean, I think my first serve this match had its ups and downs. There were moments where I could rely on it and moments where I just went for, like, I went too hard on it, which was unnecessary, because actually, she's great at returning hard serves. I should have mixed it up more and kept a higher percentage so she wouldn't attack my second serve. But overall, I don't think it was that bad.

I think the hardest thing about playing her is just her unpredictability. You don't know if she's gonna hit a super-hard ball or just hit a dropshot. So I guess just things like that. Plus she's actually a really great mover. I don't think people notice that about her as much, but it's really tough to hit a winner off her.

No, I never have a feeling of wanting to return back to how things were. For me, it's just a way of clearing my head. I have been wanting to do that since French, but I just thought it would be weird, because I did that right before Indian Wells, so I was, like, every season am I going to write a paragraph on my feelings? So that's why I decided not to do it, but then, like, after the Wimbledon I was, like, I feel like -- it's not like I owe an explanation, but I at least should sort of air out how I'm feeling to people that care enough to, like, read a long paragraph. So, yeah, it's a bit of a therapy-ish sort of for me.

Yeah, actually it's pretty nice, because of course there was a lady that shouted "Have fun" in the second set. But in the first set, I know why I was laughing for, like, a solid five minutes, because I was serving, I don't remember the score, but I was on the, I want to say left side, and I double-faulted, and this guy, like, so loud, he went, "Ohh." So honestly I wanted to start cracking up but I couldn't. I just started laughing, and I had to keep a straight face. But it felt like he was so invested (smiling). So, yeah, like, if anyone wondered why I was laughing at that moment, it was because of that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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