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October 27, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Shenzhen, China

N. OSAKA/P. Kvitova

7-6, 4-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. In the on-court coaching with your dad, you told him you're not calm by nature, yet you always manage to compose yourself somehow and get the win. Are you harsh on yourself or do you really not consider yourself calm?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, honestly everyone that knows me knows, like, I feel like it's two separate personalities. Like I'm either really calm to the point where I don't care about anything, or I'm very frazzled quite easily and I invest all of my emotions.

It's just kind of navigating that and, like, trying to figure out how to be the calm person all the time on the court, which is really hard because, I don't know, I invest a lot of time in tennis so I feel like it's the one thing that I'm very emotional about. So yeah...

Q. How calm did you feel when it was 5-2 in the third set, then 5-4? You stayed calm then?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, actually I did because I just knew that all the things that I did wrong in the service game that I lost, I wasn't going to do that again. So I just felt like it was a match that I just had to keep figuring things out and adjusting to what she was doing and also the things like I felt I could be doing better.

Q. Did you feel your serve was a big factor today?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, yeah, when it went in (smiling). I think it was definitely very helpful.

I also think my service return was pretty helpful today, too. I know neither of us really had the highest first-serve percentage today, but I think the chances that I did have, I did pretty well with them.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how good it feels to have a win here, since obviously last year you lost your three round-robin matches.
NAOMI OSAKA: Thanks for reminding me (laughter).

Yeah, I mean, it definitely feels good to win. I think more just because I played against her, and I haven't played her since Australian Open. I didn't really have the best memories. Like I didn't want it to be that close again, but I think it was close again today.

So, yeah, also couple that with the fact that I'm not great at first rounds. Like, it takes me a little bit to warm up. I think that this tournament kind of forces you to, like, do well early.

Q. You mentioned Australia. It did feel reminiscent of that match. Did that come into your mind at all or...
NAOMI OSAKA: Hmm... I mean, that's the only thing that I can remember, you know, because I've never played her aside from that. So there were moments where I was thinking about that. Like when she aces me, I'm just thinking, You know what, it's okay because that's one of her biggest weapons and something I should expect and I shouldn't get angry at that.

I still did a little bit somehow.

But, yeah, if that's the only match I played her, so that's the memories that I get.

Q. Prior to this match you mentioned you have to pay attention to Petra's serve. At the beginning of the match you had trouble with her serve. What made it difficult to return the serve at the beginning of this match?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, it takes me a minute to get used to someone and their patterns. Of course, it was very difficult for me to adjust to her serves at the beginning.

Honestly, I think the game that I won was a bit lucky because she double-faulted quite a lot. I'm not sure if I, like, intimidated her into making those double-faults, but I did feel a bit lucky with that.

Yeah, I felt like I got better as the match went on. I just kept trying to adjust to it.

Q. One side of the court there's such a big screen and your picture is on it. You always say your mind wanders a lot during a match. Is that a distraction or not?
NAOMI OSAKA: I just wish they used a better picture (laughter). I don't know, everyone else gets this really, like, cute picture of themselves, and I'm over here looking like a mess. It's fine they want to represent me like that, no problem (smiling). Oh, man... You don't even want to know.

It was just kind of embarrassing just to, like, see that giant you on the screen. Then you're thinking, Do I really look this bad?

Yeah, that was going on in my head (laughter).

Q. Talk about the sing-off you mentioned on your Instagram. You were practicing singing for a reason.
NAOMI OSAKA: Practicing singing for a reason is because we're supposed to do, like me and somehow I have a group of friends now, I don't know how that happened, but we're supposed to have this group sing-off at the end of the year during off-season.

Three people can sing very well, then me and this other person, we're pretty bad. We're trying to catch up. That's pretty much the end of the story.

Q. You've shown you can win tournaments with different mindsets. In Beijing you said you were angry relaxed. What is kind of your vibe and mood as you play in Shenzhen?
NAOMI OSAKA: For me, I've been in Asia for the last two months, and it's been great. I just feel like it's sort of the last push type of thing. Also I didn't play well in the Finals last year, so I'm kind of just trying to redeem myself a little bit in that sense.

Also I know that somehow this year was better than last year. No matter what happens, I just have to, like, play well and be proud of myself.

But I'm here to win, and that's sort of my goal.

Q. You haven't lost a match since the US Open. Are you sure you need a new coach?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, he's so annoying. Oh, my God (laughter).

Do you hear his on-court coaching? I can't believe it. He runs up to the bench talking about, Be calm. That's it. He doesn't give me any tactics. I can't believe this. I was so mad (laughter).

But, yeah, definitely I don't think my dad likes watching me play live. Normally everyone knows he sort of just walks around and gets sneak glimpses at the TV monitor.

Yeah, for me, he kind of lets me do my own thing, which I like. Also I feel like I need structure a little bit because if I do my own thing for too long, I don't know, I feel like I need guidance or advice from someone, you know?

(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, right now I'm very happy, of course, because this is the tournament where you play all the top players. That's something that I feel like I've struggled with in the past a little bit.

Given that I do feel I'm a big-match player, there are some times when I play higher-ranked people and I don't do that great. So I feel like this tournament is a big challenge for me.

I think I'm not even really thinking of this tournament as the Finals, I'm just trying to continue on from where Beijing left off, so...

I honestly don't really remember what I did in the first set. I know that she got an early break and I somehow broke back, then we held until the tiebreak.

I had rare chances on her serve. I told myself that if I could ever get a play on it, hit it hard to the middle, stop going for the lines. I think on the deuce side she would hit often to my backhand. I would try to hit down the line but it would go out in the alley. That's the biggest thing I remember.

I mean, actually not really. I feel like that's a more natural thing now. Like, I know when to step in. I feel like I don't think about hitting hard, I just think more about court positioning now. I think that is probably more important than trying to blast it from the back of the court.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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