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February 21, 2021

Naomi Osaka

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. How were celebrations overnight?

NAOMI OSAKA: Well, for me, honestly the biggest thing I wanted to do was go to sleep. I took a two-hour nap after I won, and now I'm here. Hopefully I can celebrate a bit more today.

Q. There's been a fair bit of talk about changing of the guards with Serena, et cetera. Either way there will be more attention on you. How do you feel prepared for that?

NAOMI OSAKA: Honestly, I don't really think too much about it. For me, I just focus on myself and what I can do. So I don't really put too much pressure on myself in that way.

Q. Ash Barty is set to come back and play a lot more this year. How much are you looking at taking her on as the world No. 1?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I feel like for me, whenever I play her, it's really tough. Of course, she's the No. 1 player in the world. Of course, it's going to be tough.

Yeah, I don't know. For me, I put the mindset of I don't really worry about the person I might play until I actually play them.

Q. You said the No. 1 ranking isn't a big aim for you, that you want to have success on grass and clay.

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah. For me, I think that's the biggest goal right now. I think everyone knows I can do well on hard court. For me, I just really want to get comfortable on the other surfaces.

Q. Do you feel like your game is in a better place now compared to maybe 12 months ago that you can perform better on the clay and grass?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yes, I think so. I think I have more of an understanding of what I'm supposed to do. I think before I would just head into a match sort of unaware of I guess different patterns and things like that. But now I think I talk to Wim a bit more on strategy.

Q. Will you hang in Melbourne and enjoy the freedoms or is it straight back?

NAOMI OSAKA: I have to head back to my home tomorrow. Hopefully today I'm able to walk around a little bit.

Q. A lot of people are mentioning how you're an inspiration on and off the court. How important is that aspect of being more than just an incredible tennis player?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I think for me, the biggest thing is just in a way trying to use my platform for anything and everything I believe in, things I feel could touch at least one person.

For me, I find it kind of incredible that sometimes my story is relatable to other people. I would just say it feels almost better to be known for the things I do off the court than on the court.

Q. With a Grand Slam already this year, how important now is Tokyo for you?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, everyone kind of knows the Olympics is a really big deal for me. It would be my first Olympics. For it to be in Tokyo of course would be a dream.

But I don't know. I don't want to put too much thought into it because I feel like I would overanalyze and put stress on myself because it's still a ways to go. For sure I think every athlete is looking forward to it.

Q. You spoke about your appreciation that you're able to be here and perform. You thanked Craig, his team. What happens now in terms of going back into the world that's not as COVID safe? Do you have concerns about how the year might unfold, how much tennis you'll get to play?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I feel like you can't really schedule yourself too well because you never know what's going to happen. I don't know. For me, I feel like it's a real miracle that this tournament went off the way that it did, it didn't really have that many problems. I think that's all thanks to Craig and his team, everybody that was volunteering, like the ballkids and everybody.

I would just say for me, I don't know, I take it one day at a time.

Q. Can you tell us a bit what you did yesterday evening to celebrate your title. Did you do something special?

NAOMI OSAKA: I honestly didn't do anything. I tried to start packing, but I have so much stuff I guess I have to finish it today.

Yeah, I just washed my face and tried to go to sleep I guess.

Q. You said you were playing this title for a different purpose, for the teamwork you put in. Does it feel any different from the other three Grand Slams?

NAOMI OSAKA: Hmm. I'm not really too sure. I feel like every Grand Slam that I've been able to win, it doesn't really hit me till a couple days later. So maybe I'll get back to you a couple days later.

Q. Where are you heading next?

NAOMI OSAKA: I'm going back home.

Q. How good was it to be able to play in front of fans last night?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, it felt really incredible. For me, the last Grand Slam final I played was in New York, and we didn't have any fans. The atmosphere yesterday was definitely something that will be etched into my memory. I'm just really, really grateful that so many people came out and watched us play.

Q. Any story behind the dress?

NAOMI OSAKA: Story behind the dress? I just really liked it. For me, I like colors a lot. I guess orange and yellow and black are some of my favorite colors. I don't know, that's how I picked this, yeah. It's not really a big story.

Q. All the players had to complete the two weeks quarantine. How do you think this quarantine affected you? What do you think about Australian Open being held despite the pandemic?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I think the quarantine affected me in the way that I had to go within myself a lot. You're sort of in a room by yourself. You're kind of forced to face your own thoughts. For me, I think in the end that was a good thing because there were a lot of things that I meditated on and I thought about. I think coming here really helped me because it made me a bit more confident I guess in my thoughts and my opinions.

Q. (Question about being recognized.)

NAOMI OSAKA: Honestly, I kind of would give you the same answer. I don't really feel recognized unless it's moments like this. For me, I just like walking by myself outside. I think in a way I'm kind of lucky because I'm not like a LeBron James or anything like that that would get recognized everywhere and would have people following them.

So, yeah, I'll pretty chill. It's kind of good.

Q. (No microphone.)

NAOMI OSAKA: No. I don't know. People tell me stuff like that, but it actually never really happens to me in real life. I always have a mask and a hat on. That kind of helps me out, too.

Q. There was talk about the fact that women's tennis at the moment doesn't have a boss. Now you have four Grand Slams. There are a lot of talks that you might be the next boss. How do you feel about that?

NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I feel like it's an honor that I'm in that conversation. I also feel like for me, my biggest goal is to be consistent throughout the year, not just randomly popping up and winning a Grand Slam. Hopefully I'm able to be more stable this year and feel more worthy of potentially having that title.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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