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August 15, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Cincinnati, Ohio

N. OSAKA/S. Hsieh

7-6, 5-7, 6-2

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. That crowd seemed pretty full from start to finish, the people watching over the side from court 11 to see your match. Curious what you thought of the atmosphere today.
NAOMI OSAKA: I thought it was really nice, because I could kind of feel everyone's energy. It's been a while since I have played on, like, a really close court like that.

Q. What was your thought when you saw your court assignment?
NAOMI OSAKA: Always with the shadiness.

Q. Getting it out of the way earlier today.
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, for me, I'm the type of person that will play on any court. But I thought it was a bit funny, especially since, like, that's kind of a doubles court in a way. Because I saw there was a lot of doubles matches on there. But, I mean, I'll play on whatever court.

Q. Was it frustrating not having Hawk-Eye today? Seems like there were a lot of times you would have liked to have challenged.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, definitely there were a lot of questionable calls. I asked her a question. She didn't really make sense. But moving on...

But yeah, I think it went both ways, because I think she also wanted to challenge a couple times.

Q. You served quite well today, 15 aces. What did you make of your rhythm on serve today?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I mean, I thought my rhythm was really good. Then I got a time violation. So I had to change my rhythm, whatever. I mean, I thought it was fine. Worked out in the end.

Q. Did it feel like, you know, playing on that court, playing that type of opponent, you know, everything that was kind of going on, time violations, no Hawk-Eye, et cetera, that's quite a big test to have to kind of come through and manage the situation? How well do you think you managed all that?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I thought I did pretty well. There were a lot of things that caught me off-guard today. Not necessarily her. Just, like, the things that happened during the match.

Yeah, I feel like I knew going into the match that she was going to play really well. Like, we have such long matches every time we play, so I wasn't expecting anything different this time around.

Q. Was there anything at all different, having played her so much already this year, this time as opposed to the last times that you played?
NAOMI OSAKA: I guess this time, if I don't count Stuttgart, the last time I played her in Miami, I let my frustration kind of take control. But I guess in this match I just wanted to keep fighting even if I lost the third set. I just wanted to try as hard as I could.

Q. Were you able to keep the I-need-to-have-fun spirit that you have been working on the last few weeks?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I did, but I was more serious during this match. There were a couple of times that I sort of, like, kicked my racquet and sort of gently tossed it (smiling).

But, yeah, I mean, and then there were a couple of times I laughed. So I think it was balanced out. Yeah.

Q. What is the key to a gentle toss? Put it down very nicely? I'm just curious. Players toss their racquet when they're angry. It was very graceful.
NAOMI OSAKA: Thank you. I have been working on my form (smiling).

No, it's like, you know, a bowling ball. You've just got to -- it's all in the arm.

Q. When people break their racquets or crack their racquets, are there any you watch on TV that you think have a really admirable technique in their racquet breaking?
NAOMI OSAKA: No. I don't really like breaking racquets and stuff. So I never really watch someone break their racquet and go, Wow, he did a good job. So no.

Q. What's your favorite "small court" around the world?
NAOMI OSAKA: In the world? Hmm. I mean, does this count as a small court?

Q. You just said that it's small.

I feel like this was pretty, like, stadium-ish-y, because it was dug into the ground and there were seats going up.

Small court. Small court is, like, one bleacher in the side somewhere. I like Indian Wells, but, like, in Indian Wells every court is kind of a stadium now. But probably like one of the far courts in the back of Indian Wells. That's, like, where I first started.

Q. When managing your frustration today, what is something that you contemplate in your mind how you control that and maintain your calmness throughout the match?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me, there was a moment in the third set where I just started laughing because I felt myself getting a bit irritated. But then I was thinking to myself, I think I'm getting irritated because it's so hard. This match is so hard.

And I'm, like, But this is funny to me, because I love playing hard matches. So how can I be getting irritated if it's what I want?

It's one of those things where you think, like, this is the moment where you test yourself. This is a moment that you think is, like, the moments that you live for. Yeah, that's what I was thinking about.

Q. So would you say laughter is a way that you cope with that frustration?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, and it's just, like, a relaxing thing. It just helps me clear my mind more than anything.

Q. What is more frustrating or what builds the frustration more when you play Hsieh Su-Wei? Watching some of the shots she hits that land in that nobody else hits or constructing points that, you know, are perfectly constructed points or you missing? What builds the frustration more?
NAOMI OSAKA: It's never me missing. It's always, like, watching her hit a winner off something crazy and I'm always, like, What the heck is that?

But no, honestly whenever I play her I don't feel like I hit too many unforced errors. I just feel like she does some crazy stuff. She gets a lot of balls back. Yeah, we just play super-long matches.

Q. Your next match is either against Svitolina or Kenin. You made the quarterfinals last week in Toronto, and now with the quarterfinals again, how do you assess your game and your form so far on the hard courts?
NAOMI OSAKA: Better than last year. Hopefully I can do the same thing in the coming week, but, yeah, for me I'm just trying to build on matches. Every match I learn something new. And then I try to apply that into the following match.

Q. With that following match, what would you expect from either opponent?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I feel like I would be the power player in this conversation, so I feel like I need to dictate. Just have fun, you know.

Q. Have you ever watched last year's US Open final?
NAOMI OSAKA: Can you say, like, one noncontroversial question?

Q. I don't mean to be controversial.
NAOMI OSAKA: I saw you trying to put your hand up a couple of times. I thought you were going to say something nice. Have I ever watched it fully? Like, fully?

Q. Or in part.
NAOMI OSAKA: Not really, because it's always, like, I hate the sound of my own voice, so I can never watch the speech or -- I mean, I looked at a couple of highlight points, but not the full...

Q. Not the speech? That's the worst part for you?
NAOMI OSAKA: I don't know how you guys can sit here. No.

Q. Have you ever watched an interview of yourself?
NAOMI OSAKA: I tried a couple of times. But there is either, like, the squeaky-squeakster comes out or I just sound like I'm dying. Honestly, like, I can't handle it. I have to apologize to everyone.

Q. (Indiscernible question.)
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, it was really cool. Honestly didn't know that it was going to happen until a couple of days before, because they wanted to do something cool to sort of officially announce it. Since I was in LA at the time and they were having a game, they just thought that that would be a really great idea.

Q. I saw your dad was there today. I haven't seen him at too many of your matches lately. Maybe it was a smaller court and he had less places to hide or he's coming more? What's it like having him at your matches? Closer to the rest of your team.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, it's so funny. I didn't know that he was going to be here. Like, I kept FaceTiming him. I was doing the training block in LA before Toronto. He said he was going to skip Toronto and come to Cincy. I was, like, Okay. That's cool. You're abandoning me or whatever.

You know, I played my first match. He wasn't there. And I was FaceTiming him. I was, like, Yo, the tournament started. When are you coming?

He was, like, I'm coming on Wednesday. You know, Wednesday was yesterday. He never picked up any of my FaceTimes after that. And then I just randomly heard his voice during the third set. I'm, like, No way. Because anyone that knows my dad knows that he doesn't sit in my box. Like, it's just a thing. I think he gets too nervous so he'd rather pace around.

So, yeah, it was very -- I felt like I was a kid again. Then after the match when I saw him, I just started crying. He was, like, What's wrong with you? I'm, like, Yo. I just was emotional.

Q. You missed him?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah. I don't know. He has a very calming atmosphere. Thank you for that question.

(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I don't think -- I'm not the most technical person, so it's definitely not technique. I would say probably physical and mental. I think maybe she got a little bit tired in the third set, but for me, I felt like -- like, my lungs weren't giving, my legs got a tiny bit heavy, but all in all I felt pretty good. I was able to keep running. There was a point where I felt she wasn't getting to certain balls that she would have gotten to before, and that just powered me to, like, mentally keep trying harder and harder.

I mean, I never think about the past, so I never think, like, I return to my form or anything like that. If anything, right now I feel better as, like, I'm evolving into a different player than I was before. I want to be better than I was in the past. I think that's the goal of everyone that's playing right now. So, yeah, definitely I am glad that I'm on hard court again, but I think there is a lot of things that I can improve and that's what I'm trying to do.

Yeah, I mean, all I know is during the entire match, my service games were very close. Honestly, I think with my serve it shouldn't, like, that shouldn't happen as often as it did. I was just trying to find a way to adjust to that, because I felt like whenever I served hard at her, she would just return the pace. It was a bit of a struggle trying to figure out when to go soft and when to go hard, especially since I felt like when I went hard she just read that and went for it. I mean, all in all, I felt like whenever I play her, it's a really hard mind battle. Like, we are both trying to think about what the other person is thinking and predict stuff and it's really crazy, like, super tiring.

I mean, there is certain things that are common, though. Like serving, I can predict where she serves because there is not, like, a lot to do. You know, it's not like she has the greatest serve in the world. But it's consistent. It will go in. So that's, for me, one of the biggest things that I felt like I needed to do better this round was just, I guess, attack her serve or at least give myself more chances to get in the match.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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