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January 20, 2020

Naomi Osaka

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

N. OSAKA/M. Bouzkova

6-2, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. You seemed like you were in a pretty good mood, smiling a lot in the first set. What was the feeling like being out there for this sort of second time coming back to a Grand Slam as champion?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me it's really odd here. I just feel really happy.

I think, I don't know, I don't really have this mentality of, I'm, like, defending now. It's really weird.

But I'm very thankful for it, because I think if I did go into the match with that, I would have been, like, tense.

Q. I saw your tweet about your dad finally watching a match in a Grand Slam from the box. He hasn't seen you till now? Just logistics he hasn't been able to see you from a box at a Grand Slam?
NAOMI OSAKA: What's 'logistics'?

Q. Just distances involved or whatever.
NAOMI OSAKA: No, he's just superstitious. Because, like, he literally -- because, like, before when he used to sit in my box I would just look at him and complain a lot, but I have matured over the past, like, three or four years he hasn't sat in my box. He was like my coach during Tokyo and Beijing. He was sitting in my box the entire time.

He has a good winning streak by sitting in my box.

Q. Is that adding to your current happiness level?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah. I mean -- oh, that pause sounded really bad (smiling).

Yeah. It's just because I'm used to, I guess, my mom being at US Open, but now that I think about it, she's never been here. So I just hope she has a good time.

Q. In the second set you missed that forehand.
NAOMI OSAKA: What forehand?

Q. Yeah, we won't talk about it. But you responded quite well. It didn't seem like it lingered very much. Can you just talk about that moment in that second set? Because it seemed like a moment where, especially first match defending, the panic could set in and it didn't.
NAOMI OSAKA: Are we talking about the 3-1 forehand?

Q. The 3-2 forehand to get broken to 4-2.
NAOMI OSAKA: I thought it was 2-1 and then -- okay. Yeah, for me, honestly I was missing so much of that match. It was hard to pinpoint exactly.

But I just think I don't have time to linger on stuff, especially if I want to win two-set matches instead of three-set matches.

She was obviously trying to stay in the match, so for me I felt like I just had to keep concentrating on what I needed to do.

Q. You mentioned it's your mom's first time here and you like it here. What's a go-to thing you want to show your mom when you're in Melbourne?
NAOMI OSAKA: Go-to thing? To be honest, I don't really go out much. I just go out to get food and then go back in my room, like a hermit.

But, yeah. I think just coming on-site and the vibe is so different. I mean, everyone is, like, bustling around, but it's more, like, upbeat.

I think that's one of the main reasons why I like it here.

Q. After you have had some time to think about it, have you decided how mad Dianne is?
NAOMI OSAKA: I'm sorry, I'm deaf.

Q. After you had some time to think about it, after you tweeted, have you decided how...
NAOMI OSAKA: Oh. She was hating. What would her children think? You're just going to come on the Internet and boo me for no reason. I didn't do anything to you.

Yeah. She was very upset. I also wonder, people like this, if they see you in person, I wonder what they would do?

Because, like, the Internet is so -- you don't feel a human connection. So I always think it's interesting.

Q. Can you just talk about your next opponent? Do you know who you're playing?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I just found out.

Q. Can you just talk about how you look at that match?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, for me I think I played Saisai once a couple years ago, and she's a very tricky player. She slices and dropshots from what I could see of her matches in the past.

I think it will be probably a match where I have to dictate a lot and just stay consistent and be positive. Because there are going to be times where I do think I'll be frustrated.

Q. The other day you were saying that now you have, like, climbed the hill. You know how hard it is to win a major. And that maybe that changes how you look at it now compared to 12 months ago or 16 months ago. So what's the biggest difference do you think in terms of how you see this process of playing this two-week event compared to before you won a US Open?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I think for me I understand that I don't have to play perfect in the first round. It's more about building your level up and getting comfortable with yourself.

That's, like, one of the biggest things I have learned. Also, just like understanding that every match you play is probably going to be very difficult and being okay with that.

Q. Just a general question about the fires. I know a number of players have come together to raise money for the fires. I wonder just how much that's been on your mind as you have spent time here this time.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me it's been on my mind a lot, especially since I have had so many great memories here. It's probably, like, my favorite place to come back to on the tour.

So of course everyone did the Rally for Relief thing and I have been wondering what I should do. I thought maybe I should donate 150 for every unforced error but I think I'd be poor. I have way too many unforced errors. I'm currently trying to figure out what I should do.

Q. You spoke about the vibe around this tournament and how happy it feels and you're here as defending champ. How would you compare or contrast that with the vibe coming to New York a couple months ago as defending champion?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, New York, I don't know if it's the energy of the city is very, like, go, go, go, but I felt, like, very rushed.

I don't know. Everything was whirlwindy. And also, I think I was too, like, into, like, the idea that I was the defending champion. Like, I didn't take into account that, like, it's a new tournament, so there's, no, like, reward for being a defending champion and you just have to go into it with the mindset that everyone wants to beat you and it's going to probably be tougher the second time around.

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

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me it's tough because I have never played her before, of course. And the nerves you feel in the first round are very different from everything else.

But also, at the same time, most of the time the people that I play now, they play different from what you see on the tapes. Like, they play me differently. Most of the time they try to play more aggressive, so I feel like I constantly have to keep figuring it out as the match goes on. And I can't really rely too much on what I see on the Internet.

Oh, you saw that? Wow, you had binoculars or something (smiling)?

I mean, it's not the first time I have gotten notes, but most of the time, I don't know, like before I would write something down, because in Grand Slams, I don't know, for me it's a bit hard to always remember key points, especially when there's so much going on in your mind. I just asked him if he can, like, write a note of basic things he thinks is very important or something that I would forget.

I think I did in the second set but not the first set.

Yeah. I mean, for me I had a lot of fun today. I don't know. The crowd here is very different from everywhere else, so I really love playing here.

But I feel like I actually did smile a lot last year in the first round, too. So I don't know if it's, like, my way of getting the first-round jitters out is through smiling. Yeah.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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