April 27, 2021
THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. Can you talk about your clay court preparations since we've seen you last in Miami. What has been the focus? How do you feel like you've prepared going into the Madrid?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, for me, I've just been -- actually after Miami I took, like, a bit of a break because I felt like, I don't know, I needed to slow my mind down a little bit.
But, yeah, I feel for me it's exciting to go into the clay court swing because I haven't won a tournament on clay yet. Even though that does make me a bit excited, it also gives me a bit of, like, stress because I really want to do well here.
I think I was just preparing for anything.
Q. As you go into this section of the season, you said you haven't won a title on this surface, how do you manage the expectations? I know you're ambitious, you had a great clay season in 2019, a lot to build on. At the same time some players might think anything is gravy on this surface. How do you manage those two binary ideas?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I think for me, I do better when I don't stress myself out and tell myself that I have to win a tournament. But it's really hard to fight that feeling when, I don't know, you really want something.
At the end of the day, I haven't played a clay tournament in, like, two years. I haven't touched clay in two years either, so... I'm just going in here just trying to have fun and trying to build, I guess, match play for French.
Q. I know this is the first full block you would have had with Wim to prepare for the clay season. He was quite excited to work with you on this surface. How different, if at all, was the work you have been doing to get your game where you want it to be on clay?
NAOMI OSAKA: Honestly, for me, I would like to be better at certain things. I'm pretty sure he wants me to be better at certain things, too. I think that's a process of not being that comfortable on a surface and trying to build on it.
I think we have a lot of time. Of course, we don't have a lot of time before this tournament, but I feel like I just really need to play matches on clay to pinpoint what I could do better, as well, so...
Q. Something about your process in tennis. I would like to know if there is someone in tennis that helps you or teaches you to deal with the attention when you win matches and titles, or this is something you have to learn by yourself, and how you did it?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I would say for me, a person that helped me deal with, like, that pressure side of media, he wasn't a tennis player, but it was Kobe. He helped me out a lot. I think I learned a lot from him, yeah.
Q. I know it's only at the start of the clay court season, but if I could ask you a question about Wimbledon. I'm asking players for their favorite Wimbledon memories. For you, was it maybe your first win or playing on Centre Court for the first time?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, for me Wimbledon is a bit of a sore spot because I haven't gotten even to the second week there yet.
I would say definitely my favorite memory, even though I lost the match, was when I played against Venus. It wasn't on Centre Court, but it was my first time on one of the bigger courts. I just really loved it because I remembered watching her when I was little playing on the Wimbledon courts and winning the title. For me, that was really fun.
Q. I'm taking you back to Madrid, to talk a little bit about the Caja Magica, the conditions you've been practicing in there. How are you feeling? You said it's been a couple of years since you touched clay. How are you sort of sensing yourself?
NAOMI OSAKA: It's really hard to tell because I can't remember how I felt the last time I was here playing. But I do know that I think I'm hitting the ball pretty well. I can only hope that for now that's good enough. Maybe when I play my matches I'll be able to adjust a lot better.
As of right now, I don't really have that much experience to be able to tell what's good on clay and what's not good on clay.
Q. You mentioned wanting a little bit of a break after Miami to reset. Why did you feel you needed that? What did you do to give yourself a clean slate?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I felt like I needed it because after Australia I had, like, one day of rest, then I immediately started working. It wasn't tennis, but other stuff.
For me, I just felt like the hard court swing, the Australian hard court swing, plus Miami, was kind of compressed for me. I didn't really have time to see my family because I haven't seen them since Christmas before I went down to Florida. I just wanted to spend time with them and chill out a little bit.
Q. Can you explain what kind of training you have been doing with Yutaka?
NAOMI OSAKA: The kind of training we've been doing? I don't know if I'm supposed to be exposing him and his secrets (smiling). I would say it's more like mobility and sliding, like clay court specific.
I think when we were on hard court, I was doing a lot more strength as compared to now we're doing a bit more, like, stretching and clay court-specific drills. We're staying on the court more and doing things after the practice.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports