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August 16, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Cincinnati, Ohio

S. KENIN/N. Osaka

6-4, 1-6, 2-0 [Ret.]

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Things were going very well for you in that match. I'm curious when things started to feel bad and what you felt.
NAOMI OSAKA: In the second game of the third set when I was serving.

Q. What did you feel? When did you start feeling pain?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I just started feeling my leg when I landed on my serve.

Q. Is it a familiar kind of pain or something you had before or is it different?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, it's different.

Q. Did you get any sense from the trainer? It looked like your knee. Anything more specific about it?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, we're still trying to figure it out.

Q. How disappointing is it for you? Especially the way that you had turned that match around. It seemed like you were playing pretty well up until that moment.
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, yeah, it sucks. Especially since I didn't want to, like, get injured this close to the Open. And now I'm kind of, like, worried a little bit.

You know, she was playing well. I had to, like, really think about what I had to do during the match, so I'm not that, like, mad at the result. Like, the injured part sucks, but losing, it's not that big of a deal.

Q. You mentioned you're worried. How much does it hurt compared to other injuries you have had? What kind of worries are now in your head?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, the thing is my pain tolerance is really high. So that's usually why I play through things that apparently I shouldn't. So I really don't know what's going on with my leg right now.

Q. You wanted to keep playing today. I couldn't hear all the conversation you had with the trainer, but it sounded like she was warning you that it could be bad but you wanted to go back out. Is that fair? What was that conversation like?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, literally we don't know what was going on. They were trying to figure it out. So I was asking her if it was safe to play, because I really hate withdrawing. Like, I don't know. I feel like we were playing such a great match, too. It's not fair to her to just, like, withdraw, because I feel like I'm bowing out.

Then I was asking her, like, if she thinks it's safe to play. Then I went out there. I wanted to finish the set. But I felt this, like it wasn't safe.

Q. Do you know where you will go next to kind of look at it and sort it out?
NAOMI OSAKA: Like, what city or where I'm actually going?

Q. What city.
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I was going to New York after this. But I'm not sure. I have to talk to everyone.

Q. Are you planning on getting an MRI or anything tonight or in the near future that you know of?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, probably, but I have no idea what's going on. I just came straight here, so...

Q. I'm curious, Sonya mentioned you guys used to play against each other as 12-year-olds. Do you have memories of that time?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, we actually grew up in the same place. I used to see her at every, like, junior tournament that I would play.

Yeah, we played each other when we were really little. She would always win. And then, like, I saw her when we were coming up in ITF. So for me it's really cool, because, like, we would both play at the same academy or see each other once every few years, and now we are both here, both professionals, and I think that's, like, a really cool coming-up story.

Q. Which academy did you overlap at?
NAOMI OSAKA: Man, I don't even remember. There's, like, so many in Florida.

Q. Has she changed much since she was a little kid?
NAOMI OSAKA: She grew up (smiling). I mean, she was, like, really small as a kid. Yeah, she got tall. Am I going to get in trouble for saying that? It's a fact. Ask anyone that played in our age in Florida. Like, she was small.

Q. She's obviously had some great results recently. What's the toughest part of playing her? What has been the toughest part over the years?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, for me, I would just say that she fights. She's consistent with, like, trying her best and not -- like, if she gets frustrated, it doesn't really affect her game. She'll like bounce back.

Q. You mentioned being worried and upset this happening so close to the US Open. Why is that? Have you thought more about that part, having this with that up ahead?
NAOMI OSAKA: But it's so obvious. Because last year I won the US Open and this year I'm trying to play the US Open. I don't really want to have anything, like, in the way of -- like, I don't even really think about winning the tournament. I just want to have the chance to play it, you know?

And I feel like this might have that 1% chance of me not being able to play, and that's what's concerning me. Like, in the end, I'm going to play even if the doctor says no probably. But I don't know. Just having the opportunity, I guess.

Q. You said you just came straight here. Now with everything rolling in your head, what's the one thing you want to do the minute you step out of this room?
NAOMI OSAKA: I don't know. Leave. Leave the site. I don't know. Actually I have had a good time here compared to, like -- I don't know. There's good vibes. Like, when I say "leave the site," I don't mean I'm crying in the back seat of the car. I mean I just have other stuff I need to do right now. Not that you guys aren't important.

Q. We get it.
NAOMI OSAKA: Okay. Thank you.

Q. Aside from the injury, are you proud of how you have played two quarterfinals and seems like you're doing really well?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, for me, I'm just happy where I am right now. I feel like I just improved every match. I think the match I played yesterday was definitely really high level, and that's sort of where I wanted to go for a while now. But I just couldn't attain that level.

So, yeah, hopefully I can build off that and just not have too long of a break from here to New York.

Q. The week leading into the Open is quite hectic. Lots of events, commitments, stuff like that. Is all of that kind of a factor in what's going on right now? Is that some kind of distraction to thinking about being able to play and defend your title?
NAOMI OSAKA: I don't know. I never had to defend a Grand Slam before.

Q. How does it feel?
NAOMI OSAKA: I don't have to feel it right now. It's not the day of the match. I'm not playing it right now.

I don't understand people who say "distraction." Because this is my job, you know. Like, if anything, it's just adding more to the things that I have to do. And I knew that when I, like, started winning. Like, people know once you start winning you have more things to do. So I wouldn't really say it's a distraction.

Q. You mentioned that you had a high pain tolerance, that that could be something that could be a problem for you. Is there a way you can kind of work through that and not overplay and learn to recognize something or at least take precautions?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean...

Q. It's kind of tricky?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah. I don't know. Because everything is so different. Like, different parts of the body feel pain in different ways.

But for me, I guess I just have to sort of -- I don't know. I don't know how to answer that question.

(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me, I just think the difference in the sets was in the first set I made way too many unforced errors. In the second set I just tried to cut down on it and focus on my first serve.

No, it was, like, right at that moment. It wasn't anything that I carried on from the previous matches.

The finals in Singapore? No, but that was, like, my hamstring. Yeah, and it felt completely different. That was more, like, I think they said I had a slight tear in my hamstring then. This is something different.

I don't really know yet. I stopped kind of immediately after instead of pushing, so I'm hoping that that would affect how soon I can start playing again.

I think I served really well this tournament despite in the first match I played I had a couple of double faults. But I think just overall aces and first-serve win percentage, I think it was pretty good. Yeah.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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