home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


January 24, 2020

Naomi Osaka

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

C. GAUFF/N. Osaka

6-3, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Were you taken by surprise a little, given your last match with her?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I guess so. You could say that.

Q. Was there anything you think you could have done differently?
NAOMI OSAKA: Put the ball in the court (smiling).

I mean, yes and no. That's a kind of hard question, because to do stuff differently, I would have had to expect that she played like that, but I wasn't really. So I felt like I had to deal with the situation at hand.

So, yeah. Yes and no.

Q. You said you learnt lessons when you were unable to defend your title in the US Open last year. Do you think you missed a few things in hindsight?
NAOMI OSAKA: Not really. I played really well after that.

I'm not going to take anything away from myself, but I don't know. I feel like -- I feel like I get tested a lot. Like life is just full of tests, and, like, unfortunately for me, my tests are tennis matches and you guys see them.

So I just have to, like, find a way to navigate through it. Does that make sense?

Q. How was she different today?
NAOMI OSAKA: More aggressive. Her serve is way better than I played her last year.

But, yeah, it's hard, because you learn more when you lose. The winner doesn't really learn that much. I feel like I wasn't really swinging freely and she was.

Q. It didn't look like you could really go through your shots at all tonight. Was it a stress factor? Did you feel tight starting the match? Did it come through the match?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I felt -- the first match I was fine. The second match I was tight. But I just -- I don't know. I just feel tight, like, playing here a little bit because of the defending thing.

And then today more, because I have played her before. There's always, like, such a huge hype leading into the match.

And of course it's, like, well-deserved. It's just tough. You don't want to lose to a 15-year-old, you know. But I guess that's for me, like, a reality check. It doesn't really matter the age of the opponent. Of course she deserves to be here. She played her matches. I just have to work harder.

Q. Can you cast your mind back when you were 15 and what your expectations were?
NAOMI OSAKA: My expectations when I was 15?

Q. Yes.
NAOMI OSAKA: Like, what do you mean?

Q. Like in tennis, what you thought you might achieve.
NAOMI OSAKA: Same thing as I am right now. I thought I'd be here sooner, though.

Q. What is your kind of takeaway after this loss? In terms of how much it stings or things like that? Do you feel as devastated as you felt, you know, in other times when you've had to exit a tournament early? Or does it feel different? I don't know.
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, this one hurts a little bit more. I love her, but I don't like this feeling of losing to her.

Yeah, I feel bad for Wim, for my entire team, Nana, Abdul, Ka-ru. We came here to win the tournament, and I'm sort of, like, the vessel that everyone's hard work is put into. And I wasn't able to do, like, what I was supposed to do.

Yeah. And also my dad and my mom were here, so that kind of hurts more.

Q. You mentioned the points to defending thing being part of what makes it tough this week. You don't have very many points to defend the next few months. That could free you up at all?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, but I don't know. I think my mindset now is just winning tournaments. I think that's easier than thinking about defending, because it's going to be tough to go through the year just thinking about, like, Last year I did blah, blah, blah at this tournament. So hopefully that changes my mindset a little bit.

Q. You just said in a very poignant way that you feel like your life is a lot about tests. Do you think you can handle these tests and process them? Or sometimes does it feel a little bit overwhelming?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I feel like there are moments where I can handle them and you guys see that. Then there are moments like this where I get overwhelmed and I don't really know what to do in the situation. And you guys can see that, as well.

I think I just have to keep learning, because you learn from a test, of course. But, yeah, I don't know. This is a very new situation for me to be in.

Q. When you were struggling through the early parts of the second set, were there certain things you thought of doing differently? What goes through your mind in those situations?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, for me, I wanted to be the aggressor. I thought she was hitting very close to the net today.

For me, I don't know, it was one of those days where I couldn't do anything right, it felt like. My backhand, which is my more consistent side, every ball was flying. Even though I was telling myself, like, I know what to do in order for it to go in. And it just wasn't going in.

So I think -- I don't know. I don't really have the champion mentality yet, which is, like, someone that can deal with not playing 100%, you know. And I have always wanted to be like that, but I guess I still have a long way to go.

Q. When you say "yet," do you mean now? Did you feel you had it last year at the US Open when you won it or are you still seeking it?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, I'm still seeking it. There are moments when you don't play 100% and you still win the match. Because it's like you don't have to play perfect to win sometimes.

But in the US Open, I was playing relatively clean the entire time. I would say maybe last year here was a bit more because I was playing a little bit rough in some matches.

Yeah, it's just something that I think some people are born with and some people have to have really hard, like, trials and stuff to get it.

(Naomi's questions in English to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: Right now I think just losing to her. I think -- I don't know. That hurts more than, like, the defending champion thing. I think it's because I have an age problem. Like, I don't like losing to people that are younger than me, and there is hardly people that are younger than me. Yeah, I took this very personally (smiling).

I'm sorry, I wasn't paying attention.

You can speak in Japanese. I just wasn't paying attention.

Well, I mean, we both saw that she was hitting, like, serves faster than US Open, of course. So that was a really important thing. Just I think we both knew she was going to play more aggressive. I just didn't know to, like, what degree.

I think I felt more pressure than nerves, because I have been in this situation before, you know. I think between the two of us, she would have maybe been more nervous, but I would definitely have more pressure because I'm, like, on paper supposed to win this match.

I don't know. I feel like I let that kind of haze my vision a little bit.

I mean, energy? I didn't think I was bad on that. I feel like -- I don't know. When I get more pumped up, it comes out more naturally. But I think on energy I was pretty okay.

Points that I feel like I could have done better? I don't really know. I feel there were some shots that I overhit. Yeah.

I was more nervous today, because I have already beaten her once before. And, yeah, I was expecting her to play really well today, because when you play someone that's beaten you before, you really, like, it doesn't really matter, you know what I mean? So, yeah.

I mean, on the data thing, I'm not too, like -- he doesn't really show me that before my match like that, because I'm too -- like, I overthink a bit too much. So if I were to see so many numbers, I think it would overwhelm my head. I think we're going to talk about it after.

I don't know. I just feel like I was misplaced the entire match, it felt like to me. I normally -- I don't know. I don't think it's a question of -- like, normally I would say physical ability, like, I need to get stronger, but I feel like I'm pretty good right now. So I honestly don't know what the problem is. Like, I was just missing balls for what felt like no reason. So, yeah.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297