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October 26, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Shenzhen, China

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. This is your second time playing WTA Finals. What does it mean?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me it means a lot. I think it kind of shows that you've played well throughout the year, then you get the chance to play against the players that sort of had the best performances.

I think it's a really good way to end the year and I hope that I play well compared to last year.

Q. You mentioned last year. Do you feel the experience of last year is going to hold you in good stead? What was it about last year that you found so difficult?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I think last year the end of the year was just so hectic for me, and I didn't really remember anything. Honestly, by the time I got here, I was just so tired. Of course, I'm a little bit tired this year, too (smiling), but for different reasons.

I managed to win Osaka and Beijing. I hope that I can continue that going forward. I definitely think last year helped me in the way that I kind of know the format more. Before last year, I haven't played round-robin since I was, like, eight or ten, so...

Q. You're on a 10-match winning streak since Osaka and Beijing. What helps you to maintain your high level? How confident are you carrying that into Shenzhen?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, for me, I just think those matches that I've played, I just tried 100%. I tried to be as focused as I could every point, which for me is something very difficult to do because my mind tends to wander a lot. I think you can see it sometimes (smiling).

Yeah, so just continuing that, trying to be as focused as I can. I think I don't have much of a choice here because I'm playing against the best players. I think if I don't focus, then I'll lose a set quite easily. Hopefully I don't get to that point.

Q. Earlier in the year you said you won a slam this year, so in all cases it has to be a good season. Heading into the Asian swing, did you feel any pressure trying to turn the season around because you had mixed results in the middle? Did you feel pressure and did that help you?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, I mean, I didn't feel pressure. I just felt, like, a very strong desire. Before I flew to Japan, I kind of sat down with my agent and talked to everyone. I was, like, I know the Asian swing is coming, it's the last part of the year, and I promise you I'm going to win these tournaments. I'm sorry that US Open didn't turn out how everyone sort of expected it to. I'm just going to, like, give it my all for this last part of the year, then everyone can go home happy.

I think I accomplished that. Hopefully I can do well here, too.

Q. It feels like when you talk about your wins, anything you do, when you say it's for others, that's how it sounds. Maybe it brings out the best in you doing it for those around you. Is that a fair assessment and is that a motivation for you?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me, I don't really play that well when I think about myself. That's why for the longest time when I wanted to win or whatever, I just would think about my mom, if I would not want her to have to work, something like that.

It's a bit hard on me if I have to think about myself because, I don't know, I travel with everyone, so they're like my family. I want them to be happy, too. I feel like when I lose, we're all sad, so...

Q. I saw a video that you did, a conversation with Li Na. You asked each other some questions. Talk about this experience. Did you learn anything from her?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me that was, like, I'm not going to count when she gave me the trophy in Australia, but that was my second time meeting her. The first time was in Wimbledon last year, yes.

Honestly, for me, I feel very happy when I see her because I remember I used to watch her press conferences or her on-court interviews. It's just so nice seeing someone that's so happy and able to bring out such personality after playing such tough matches.

Whenever I talk to her, I feel very nervous and I start sweating and I rub my palms. She probably thought I was very strange (smiling).

I was able to, like, ask her questions about what she thinks that I can do better and stuff like that. It's a very big honor that I was able to ask her those questions in the first place.

Q. In your generation of players, you're the first to win a Grand Slam, multiple Grand Slams. How much of an edge do you feel that gives you over other players like Bianca and Ashleigh?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I think Ostapenko was the first to win a Grand Slam. But honestly, watching her win that motivated me a lot. I think it motivated all of us. I think she was sort of the first push.

Then just like watching Serena have a baby and then come back, immediately get to the finals of a Grand Slam, that also motivated me. But, of course, she's the best player, so I shouldn't really compare myself to that.

Those were definitely two of the biggest things.

I'm honestly not really sure what I was able to sort of bring to the table on regards to that because I feel like everyone is sort of just doing their own thing because we're all so different, so...

Q. You're the only top-10 player able to beat Bianca Andreescu up until now. I don't know if you know that. What stands out to you the most in her on the court and off the court?
NAOMI OSAKA: I think off the court just the fact that, like, she's the complete opposite of me. She seems to be able to talk to everyone, which I'm slightly jealous about. So, yeah, that's the most outstanding thing off the court.

On the court I actually think we're pretty similar a little bit. I think we both fight as hard as we can. She's pretty incredible to me, like, because she doesn't really throw her racquet or anything, or not that I saw. I don't know if she secretly threw it when I wasn't looking.

Yeah, I think it's nice to see someone so passionate about playing. It obviously shows because she had so many great results. I'm sure that she's going to keep having them.

Q. You get to start against Petra, who you beat in Australia. Just some thoughts about that.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I don't know, I just think it's going to be hard because I only have the Australian Open to sort of think about in regards to playing her again.

But, yeah, I don't know. This court is a bit slow, but it's also indoors. I'm very concerned how her serve is going to treat me tomorrow (smiling).

Yeah, I think it should be fun. I think she's one of the players, few players, that sort of treat you very nicely after the match no matter if she wins or loses. She always gives you a smile. For me, I think that's, like, one of the best things about a person, is they kind of of course want to kill you on the court, but sort of like off the court they're very nice.

Yeah, I'm sort of rambling on that a little bit, but I feel like the match tomorrow is going to be very difficult. That's my end statement.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about you practice at Chris Evert and everything, have you used her as a sounding board through this last year or so as you've won Grand Slams, then had some disappointing results? Do you talk with her about that at all or not so much?
NAOMI OSAKA: Not really. I actually haven't gone back since Australia. I left in December, and I haven't really been home since, yeah.

(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, sticking with my dad for now. I don't feel like it would have been a smart move to just, like, get someone for one tournament, and it's the last tournament of the year.

Yeah, with my dad here. Seems to be working so far, so... Let's see if I fire him. No, I'm just kidding (laughter).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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