INTERVIEW: Naomi Osaka

Friday, Aug 9

Thursday, August 8, 2019
N. OSAKA/I. Swiatek
7-6, 6-4

THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.

Q. It seemed like you were pretty impressed by what you saw from Iga today. What did you think of her game and what do you think was the key to beating her today?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, she has a very odd ball for me. Like, on the forehand side, it’s quite spinny and it drops down. I think she hits really well cross courts on both sides, so that was a bit tricky navigating in the beginning.

And I think the key, I just kept trying to fight for every point, not get too down on myself, and just know like — I don’t know. Just tried to know that I have more experience than her, so maybe in the critical points I have the edge.

Q. How does Iga’s natural power off of her ground strokes help you prepare for Serena tomorrow, which will feature a lot of similar things, power off of the ground strokes?

NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, it’s just so different, though, the way that she strikes the ball. I can’t even compare it. But then again, I haven’t played Serena in what feels like forever. So I think I’m going to be surprised when I start playing with her tomorrow too.

But for me, the most impressive thing that I saw tonight was her movement. Like, she’s a crazy good mover, just sliding. So hopefully I can learn that from her.

Q. You had the one set obviously in your opening match against Tatjana and here you obviously played two. How good are you feeling about being back on hard courts and just how comfortable are you with where your game is right now before you play the quarterfinal?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I’m happy to be back on hard. It feels very comfortable for me.

But I have a few kinks that I feel like I need to work out, but they’re slowly getting better. And I don’t think the goal is to be comfortable here. I think the goal is to be comfortable in New York. So I’m not too stressed about it.

And for me, I’m just enjoying my time here. Like, I literally lost three times in the first round last year, so I’m not stressed about anything.

Q. Just looking ahead, I mean, can you treat tomorrow like a regular match, like a regular quarterfinal? Does it feel different? You know, kind of how do you approach it?

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I guess I’ll treat it like a regular quarterfinal, but I haven’t been in a quarterfinal in a while.

So I — I don’t know. I’m just really excited. Like, I grew up watching her. So whenever I get the opportunity to play her, like, it’s something that I feel is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

And it feels more like I’m showcasing my skills to her, like, Look what I can do. You know what I mean? So I go into the matches with that mentality.

And just super grateful to get the chance to play her.

THE MODERATOR: Questions in Japanese.

(Naomi’s English answers to Japanese questions.)

NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me, in the second set I just — I feel like in the first set, actually, her first two service games, I just went for way too much on the second serve return. So that’s the one thing that I tried to fix off the bat in the second set.

I just reeled it in and tried not to make too many unforced errors off of her serve.

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