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October 29, 2019

Naomi Osaka

Shenzhen, China

THE MODERATOR: Naomi unfortunately had to withdraw with a right shoulder injury. We'll do a short press conference now.

Questions, please.

Q. Can you tell us how this injury started, when it started, just some details about it?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, actually I did this in, like, the finals of Beijing. I didn't serve for a while when I was in Japan. I just started serving, like, the last two days. Felt better, came here, then I played my match.

I don't know, I felt it immediately. When I woke up the day after, it was like throbbing and stuff. Yeah, didn't serve at all yesterday. Hit for like five minutes, so...

Q. Can you address the disappointment obviously of having to pull out of an event like this.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, it's not ideal. This is the second time I had to withdraw from the Finals. I mean, the last time I at least played, so a retirement instead of a withdrawal.

Yeah, it kind of sucks because I thought I was playing well. I definitely wanted to win here. So yeah, disappointed.

Q. Are you able to keep things in perspective and reflect on this year, how you feel about it? What are you most proud of?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I feel like the year was like a U. Australian Open, amazing. Europe was the bottom part of the U. Not the country, just my season there. Then Asia was the other half of the U.

I don't know. For me, I always say when you ask me at the end of the year what I thought was good or bad, my answer is always: I wish I was more consistent throughout the year. That's kind of what I'm going to say again this time around.

Q. Do you feel differently about your 2019 season now compared to what you felt like after the US Open, in other words, how you finished it, finishing with three titles? Do you think this was the best season of your career or do you think last year was better?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, surprisingly I think this year is better than last year, even though I cried way more this year than I did last year. I also think that's a lesson that I learned.

It's just like you have the opportunity to, like, change the things that are happening to you, even though it might not seem like it at the moment. I definitely think that this year was somehow better.

Q. Do you have an idea of how serious the shoulder injury is, what kind of prognosis? Do you know how much you need to rest?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, we initially thought I could take a couple days off and then start rehab and stuff. That's what I did after Beijing. But then it's come back now.

I honestly don't really know. I'm going to get an MRI when I go back to Japan.

Q. Is this a new and different shoulder issue? Do you know if it's muscular or rotator cuff, any specifics?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, honestly I injured my shoulder like five years ago or something. Oh, people are writing that down (smiling). But not like heavy. It was in Thailand when I was like 17 or something. It wasn't that big of a deal. I just had to rest it. I'm hoping it's more like that.

It doesn't feel like it's anything more serious than muscular. I think if it was like bone related then I wouldn't be able to lift it, but I am able to do that. It's just a little bit painful.

Definitely I don't think it's something that I would immediately need surgery for. I've never gotten surgery, so I feel like I'm very lucky on that. I'm not really hoping that will change any time soon.

Q. When you're out of a tournament, do you shut it down or do you follow the rest of the tournament? If so, who would you be rooting for this week?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, I'm out, nah. The only thing that I look at, and it's only the Grand Slams, would be the finals. I don't even watch it. I just know who won because it's on the news.

I mean, I'm going to get in so much trouble if I say any one specific, so I'm good on that (smiling).

(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: Did she or I hurt my shoulder? I mean the last match I played? I don't know what's wrong with me.

No, I mean, I hurt my shoulder in Beijing and it just carried over to here. So it's not like it was a sudden thing that happened when I played her.

I think the thing that I'm most proud of myself is, like, after US Open I set goals. I came here with a purpose. I feel like I could have easily, like, shut it down for the year because I play mostly for the Grand Slams. That was the last one. I don't know. I felt like I had a purpose.

I was able to win the tournaments here. That was definitely the highlight. It's also the thing that I last remember, of course.

Then the lowest? Probably Wimbledon, honestly. That was like the lowest emotional feeling I've ever felt.

I mean, I think this one. Honestly, I've played a lot of matches, so maybe that's built up. Like, I would want to say it's mostly due to me being a bit - what is the word - careless with not doing specific exercises even though I'm told to. Because most of the time when I injure myself, it's the smaller muscles that are very weak. So I would say it's probably exercises.

At the same time I think there are certain moments where I just play a lot of matches and my body isn't really used to it, so...

Yeah, but you guys aren't going to like it (smiling). I'm going to stop talking to you guys freely. No, just kidding (laughter).

I don't know. I don't really feel like I changed at all. Honestly, that might be a problem, but I'm not sure yet. I'll see what happens. But for right now, like, I just want to get better as a tennis player. That's the only thing I'm trying to put my energy into. So yeah...

I mean, next season? That's Australian swing. Honestly, I'm playing Brisbane. I want to win that. That's what I would be thinking about.

Yeah, honestly I just want to, like, train really hard. Last year during the off-season I trained really hard for Australia. I felt like going into the slam I was really fit. I just want to try to duplicate that.

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