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May 1, 2022

Naomi Osaka

Madrid, Spain

Press Conference


6-3, 6-1

THE MODERATOR: Can you just kind of walk us through the match today and how you were feeling out there on court tonight.

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I have played her before, so I knew it was going to be a really tough match. I thought she played really well. Yeah.

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. Tough luck tonight. There was tape on your leg today, which wasn't the case in the first match. I'm just wondering, is that something you picked up recently? How are you feeling?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I felt something in my Achilles after my last match, and like I wasn't really able to hit yesterday because I wanted it to go away. Honestly, I probably should have been a bit smarter about the whole way that I went through everything.

Yeah, I felt it again today, and I tried to take an ibuprofen but I probably should have taken it way sooner than I did. But, yeah, I'm sure it will be fine.

Q. Not something you're worried about being a major problem longer term?

NAOMI OSAKA: Honestly, I have had it before, like maybe two years ago I think after Miami or something. But I can't imagine that it will be a huge problem unless something significant happens, but I think for right now, just like learning how to move forward with like everything.

Q. You mentioned that you have played Sara before also on clay, also in Spain also last time. How much did you think about that match and were you trying to change things, or I guess what wasn't working today for you in this matchup?

NAOMI OSAKA: Okay, like, I feel like I couldn't play the way that I wanted to play, like I was limited. So there are various things I thought I could do better from the match previously, but I just couldn't do it.

So it was kind of like a moment of me just -- I didn't really know what I should be doing, if that makes sense.

Q. Obviously it's bad luck with the injury, but if you are able to isolate that, it seems like you were having a good time here and you even tested out the things you wanted to test out and things like that. Could you just tell us what your takeaways are from this first tournament on clay?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I thought I had a lot of fun of course. I wish I could have been here for a longer amount of time, but I think -- I don't know. I think I'm still learning, still learning which courts are faster clay and which courts are slower clay.

We warmed up today and Wim was like, Oh, this court is much faster than the center court. I was like, Oh, okay, if you say so.

But, yeah, I'm trying to like take everything in stride. I know like I'm still learning. I know I say that a lot, but yeah, hopefully this situation, if it happens again, I'll be able to do better.

Q. I think one of the things that Sorribes does well is she's extending rallies and making people hit more and more shots and keep them uncomfortable. For you, is that having to be patient against a player like that? Is that something that you are able to accept doing or something you try to fight when you are out there or try and keep points shorter and not let her dictate that way? How do you find the balance when you are playing that kind of an opponent?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I feel for me I'm pretty good at like doing two things, like I feel like I could play longer rallies if I wanted to, and I also could shorten them. I think that was the dilemma that I was having, because if I were to play the longer rallies, I can't really extend my leg, if that makes sense.

If I like try to shorten them, I would have to like jump on top of the ball, and I can't really do that either, because that's also an extension. I was kind of just standing there, like I think I was physically just standing there.

Q. Still a week to go until Rome, so in terms of what you want to do going forward for the next few days, is it mainly rest? Do you want to get a scan? Do you want to get back on the training court?

NAOMI OSAKA: I really thought that you said like do you want to get skinny (laughter).

Q. What do the next few days look like for you in an ideal situation?

NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I'm the type of person that like if I feel I don't do well, like I can't sleep or anything like that, so this is probably going to keep me up for a while.

Of course I want to like work out and go to the gym and stuff, but if it's not the best idea -- I don't even really know what I did to my Achilles, so I'm probably going to get an ultrasound and see what happened, and then me and my team will kind of move forward from there.

Q. I don't know if you remember this one, but you hit a cool backhand volley in one of the rallies, and I remember a few years ago you told us that with backhand volleys, you usually do them two-handed. This one looked perfect. How proud are you of that one and have you been practicing that?

NAOMI OSAKA: Oh, yeah. So I have been like really trying to focus on my net game, because I'm going to play mixed doubles in Wimbledon. I know, shocking, right? I'm shocked too. Your eyes got super big.

I really don't want to like disappoint the person I'm playing with, because whenever I play doubles I always say, Sorry. I'm going to try not to be a liability.

Q. You're not going to tell us who you are playing with?

NAOMI OSAKA: If this person sees it and they want to like respond, they can do that, but I don't know. Isn't it more fun to kind of see it when it's around the time? I'm pretty sure if you wanted to guess you could guess who it is.

Q. I have one guess.


Q. On the Achilles, was there a specific moment in the match against Potapova where you felt something, or was it more of a gradual accumulation kind of pan?

NAOMI OSAKA: No, it was more like a gradual thing, because honestly I didn't even feel it during that match. It was just like walking off the court I felt like I was limping a little, and I was like, What the heck is going on?

I think in that match when I was warm, I didn't feel it, and then immediately as I stopped doing exercise and I got cold, then it just got worse. So I was kind of hoping that when I played this match today, if I was super warm, it wouldn't affect me. But apparently not.

Q. When you have the sort of injury where you feel like it's minor but something you are not totally sure about, in a tournament like this, in some part of your mind it's probably warmup to the French Open, let's say. How much do you try to balance wanting to push through and play and compete versus erring on the side of being super cautious?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, for me, honestly, like I don't want to like retire because of injury again in my career. Because like, you know, like sometimes I think about the Michael Jordan Flu Game, I'm like, I should be like that too.

But yeah, I mean, there is always like caution in your mind, but for me, I want to see what happens if I push through it. I want to know the type of -- it's not relief, but like the feeling that I would have if I were to ever be like injured quite badly and still be able to push through the match.

(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah. So yesterday I didn't hit really, because I felt it whenever I pushed off. I didn't serve. I just did overheads. I spent like two hours with my physio just like trying to figure out what we could do to make it better. Then icing it and stuff like that.

But when I woke up this morning, honestly, like it was on a pain level like 4 out of 10, so I thought like, you know, that's fine. For an athlete, that's like basically nothing. But then it just got worse after I warmed up for the match and stuff like that.

So the tape, it was supposed to be like a prevention thing, but I ended up actually needing it. Then of course I called the physio to like get the ibuprofen too.

Yeah, I feel like there are situations where you can only do so much, and then the rest is just like kind of you've got to go with the flow.

Yeah, I mean, of course like that's a feeling that I had, and it's funny, I was thinking in my mind like would it have been better if I played someone else that didn't hit so high so I wouldn't have to push up like that. But I also feel like those are excuses that I'm making in my head, like I'm supposed to be able to adapt to any situation.

So, yeah, I feel like the match was tough for me, and like the situation made it more tough, but I'm going to try to like become a better player to be able to like overcome that.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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