September 7, 2020
New York, New York, USA
N. OSAKA/A. Kontaveit
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Your match started way past 11 p.m. today. Are you a night owl or do you prefer an early start? Does it affect your preparation?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me, I prefer to play during the day, but just because I like the sun and I like heat. Also at the same time I know, like, night matches at the US Open in Arthur Ashe are really special.
I don't mind it. It doesn't really matter in the end.
Q. I wanted to ask you about what happened with Novak Djokovic today. From your perspective, does seeing something like that happen to a top guy make you at all more conscientious about what you do yourself on court, tossing your racquet, that you can get unlucky and have it end your Grand Slam tournament suddenly?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, definitely, of course. For me, even like not seeing that, because I wasn't watching the match live because I was sleeping, but knowing that, of course, I think puts a little bit of - what's it called - you're more aware of it, of course.
For me, I try not to slam my racquet anyways. Of course, I probably do a couple times. But I definitely think it's making people a bit more aware.
Q. Over the last couple months, I heard musical releases from Shapo, Dayana Yastremska and Corentin Moutet. Whether or not you have heard their music, does it excite you other young players of your generation are finding their voice away from tennis, sort of helping break that old stick-to-tennis stigma that is out there?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I haven't heard any songs. I remember seeing, like, Shapo do this freestyle in Indian Wells one year. But, yeah, I think it's cool that they're finding hobbies or things that they like outside of tennis. I think that's something you have to do. It's better to do that early on so you don't feel like your life revolves around winning and losing.
Q. Talk about tonight's match. What was the key to the win? What were you happy about in your game? What do you need to do to get a win over Shelby?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me, I feel like the most important thing that I wanted to do was start being really positive from the get-go, like sort of overwhelm her in a since. I think I did that fairly well. Compared to my last match I played her in Cincinnati, the first game was good, but I was a bit moody. I wasn't that focused on the match. For me, it was really important, like, the turnaround time and my attitude to be very positive.
Honestly, I just remember playing Shelby in Charleston. I don't know, it feels like such a long time ago. I have to definitely watch a couple more matches of hers. I watched her toward the end of the Kvitova match. But I'll have to talk to Wim about it.
Q. You've had the opportunity to play Shelby before. How would you describe her game and the challenge of facing her again?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I have Alzheimer's. I had a hard time remembering how to play Anett today. I don't remember.
Of course, it's going to be challenging. She's in the quarters of a slam. She's a great player. If I remember, using what's little left of my brain right now, I think she has a great serve and she's a good returner. But I have to study.
It's late. I don't know what I'm saying any more.
Q. You were wearing the name of Trayvon Martin. Have you had any responses from the families or anyone else of the people whose...
NAOMI OSAKA: Honestly, I'm not so sure because for me, they might have gone to my agent. I'm not very sure because I rarely check my phone that much, like, while I'm in this tournament. So that answers that question, to be honest.
(Naomi's answers to questions in Japanese.)
NAOMI OSAKA: I'm just going to answer the first question.
I feel like for me today, definitely the attitude was very important, but also at the same time I was trying to swing through the ball more. I felt like in the last match she was dictating quite a lot. I feel like today I just wanted to be the one to control the pace of the match and also, like, how the points go, regardless if I hit more unforced errors or not.
Yeah, so I might have practiced with her, but that would have also been like a couple years ago. For me, I don't worry too much about it, if I've never played a player.
I've never played Marta before. Of course, it was a bit tough figuring her out. But at the same time I feel like for me, what I really need to focus on are things that I can control. The immediate things would be like my serve, my forehand, my backhand, things like that.
No, I didn't go to anger management during quarantine (laughter). I had a lot of time to think because I've never had that long of a break since I was, like, three years old. I've always been playing tennis almost every day.
I don't know. It just gave me a lot to think about, a lot to be grateful for. I came here willingly. I came here to test myself against the best players in the world. I wanted to see if the training that I did for the six months was good enough. I'm still here, so I'm very happy about that.
Yeah, definitely that's something that I wanted to improve. I felt like the last match that I played her, I wasn't aggressive enough on the second serve returns. I felt like I gave her too many chances to restart the point. I felt like even if I missed a couple returns, it's definitely a shot that I needed to go for. I'm not completely happy with how I executed that, though. I definitely feel like I need to practice more.
Yeah, definitely. I feel like for me, I want to get to the finals. I want to win the trophy. That's why I'm here. Of course, it's been a while since I've been in this position. But I just feel really grateful. I know that everyone that I'm playing wants to get to the same place that I do, so every match is going to be a fight.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports