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January 22, 2020

Naomi Osaka

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

N. OSAKA/S. Zheng

6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Was there any point in that match where you were getting flashbacks to the Su-wei match of last year? Different type of opponent, but it seemed like some of the same frustrations bubbling up in that second set.
NAOMI OSAKA: Not flashbacks to the match, but I do remember thinking, like, this is like a very -- like, this court for me holds a lot of three-set memories, I think.

I just remember thinking I really don't want to play a third set this year on that court.

Q. How do you feel when you wake up on a morning like this and it's so windy?
NAOMI OSAKA: I actually didn't really feel that bad. I'm not going to call any tournaments out, but there are a couple of tournaments that are notorious for being extremely windy. Compared to that, it's not bad.

But I do, like, see what you mean when you say here it's not that regular.

Q. How did you find out Marcus was coming?
NAOMI OSAKA: I stalk Twitter. I know I probably shouldn't, but I just like clicking people's messages and then scrolling down and then clicking another person. I stalk your Twitter too sometimes.

Q. Oh, boy. That's scary.
NAOMI OSAKA: No, it's fun. You do very good. Good tweets.

Q. You said after your first match that you expected a little bit to be frustrated by Saisai's playing style. Was that coming to fruition a bit for you?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah. Maybe I shouldn't have said that. Maybe I kind of put it into existence by saying that.

But I definitely got very frustrated in the second set, and it's something that I knew would happen, but I didn't know the scale, like, what she would do to make me frustrated.

So I think that I just really have to focus on knowing that I'm going to have really tough matches and I have to find a way to, like, go around it and just be consistently level-headed.

Q. And what was it that she did?
NAOMI OSAKA: Oh, did you not see the match? Like, she was slicing and dicing and getting everything. I was, like, Can I just hit a winner already? She was, like, No, I'm going to get everything. That's basically what happened (smiling).

Q. After the game we saw plenty of Japanese flags in the crowd. There are a lot of Japanese people here. How does the Japanese support in Melbourne compare to other places, and how helpful is that for you?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, here it feels really good. There is always so many people supporting, so I've always really enjoyed playing here.

I'm so glad that I got to win here last year, because, like, going in, like round after round, it got more intense. Hopefully it's the same this year.

Sorry, I'm just thinking, did I answer that correctly?

Q. How does it compare here to other places in the world?
NAOMI OSAKA: See, I knew I didn't answer it.

I think there are more Japanese people here than anywhere else, except for, you know, Tokyo and stuff (smiling). That was kind of stupid.

But just bringing the flags and stuff, I think here it might be the most, because I like -- I can't say I like it here more, but the atmosphere is different. Like, they're willing to be louder here, so...

Q. Are you planning on playing Fed Cup?

Q. What would it mean to you to make the first-ever finals in that format?
NAOMI OSAKA: I honestly don't really know, to be honest. I kind of have been blocking out Fed Cup, because I'm very focused on this. I do know it's a very big deal, though. So hopefully when I get there I can win all my matches.

But as of right now, like, my mind is really on this. Sorry.

Q. Your thoughts on the opponent you play next, either Sorana Cirstea or another third-round match with Coco Gauff. Just talk about each of them.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I don't really know what to think right now. Because I would have to watch them play, and I actually watched Venus play Coco. That match is very, like, TV, I was, like, on the TV.

I haven't watched Sorana play in a long time, so I think after this interview, this very lovely interview -- this isn't an interview -- press conference, I would have to go watch that.

Q. On playing Saisai today, seemed like she was trying to no-pace a lot of balls and kind of bait you into creating power.
NAOMI OSAKA: No way. Was she (smiling)?

Q. She was. Weird, right? From your perspective, as a player who likes to hit the winners and wants to go for her shots, how do you deal with the frustration when you know you're playing an opponent who is just trying to bait you into making errors? I would think that that would be a frustrating, a tough thing to deal with.
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, my racquet just magically flew out of my hand (smiling). I couldn't control it. Sorry, Yonex.

I think that's how I dealt with my frustration. It was a bit childish. I just want to play one match without throwing my racquet or kicking it. That's all I want.

Yeah, it's really tough, because you start thinking, like, she's not hitting winners. You're the one making all the errors. And you try to tell yourself not to make that many errors, but you have to go for those balls.

So it's, like, you're walking a very fine line between, like, being very aggressive or attempting to push, but that's her game. So it's very hard.

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

NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I think on the 4-2 game where I was serving, I just told myself, like, I felt I was near the Melbourne logo during the rallies, so I just told myself to keep stepping in. And even if I lost the second set, I think she would be too tired to play, like, move that well in the third, so just to keep putting my foot on the gas and hopefully something would change.

I mean, I think that's something that, for me it's more instinct, but also I have been talking to Wim a lot about it. And that's, for me, I know I'm never going to be the defensive player, especially in matches like these.

It's a bit hard playing against someone who slices so much, because you can't necessarily go full power on a slice, and you have to wait a little bit. So it kind of prolongs a rally, and then it makes you doubt a little bit in between.

But I think for sure just sticking to the plan and thinking -- I mean, for me, just thinking, like, moving forward and being very aggressive works out well, especially, like, on the returns and stuff. I think I returned pretty decent the past two matches, so...

I don't recall (smiling). Oh, my God. I was minding my business.

I wasn't upset. I accidentally turned while I was saying, C'mon, and then it became directed towards people, but it wasn't really. So that's my answer. No Drama 2020.

I mean, because like when I watched that, it just reminded me of me and my dad. I don't really know how to explain it, but it was honestly, like, I think her dad reminds me of my dad or something, the way they talk. It was just kind of nice to see, like, a dad being so positive and the interaction.

Yeah, I mean, for me that's my main goal, like, coming here. I know I have dipped a couple of times, but the main goal for me to even have Wim in the first place is to win tournaments, to win Grand Slams. I'm pretty sure he feels the same way. We both have a very similar vision.

That's insect, right? (Laughter.) I don't know. I felt bad for it. I didn't want to step on it.

You know, though, there is a lot of birds on that court. When I was practicing, Wim tried to move a bug out and it flew away, but then the bird just ate it midair. I don't know why I'm telling you this, but in my mind it fit the story.

Yeah, I just didn't want to step on it during the point, because I wasn't sure how far back I was going to go.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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