THE MODERATOR: Questions, please.
Q. What was the kind of recovery process, like, after a late last night just in terms of maybe emotionally getting ready for another top opponent?
NAOMI OSAKA: Wait. Did I play last night?
Q. No, no. Two nights ago. Not physically, but I mean in terms of the comedown. You know, backing up a big win is not always easy.
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, when I play matches late like that, I usually have — like, it really messes up my sleep schedule. That was, like, the biggest thing for me.
And also just, like, going into the next match, I really want to win, but at the same time I don’t want to, like, go into the match too nervous and thinking about too much the match that I played before.
So I just try to think that I didn’t play, like, my last match and just that I focus on the match that I played today.
Q. After Maria’s match, you said you were looking forward to playing against a player who is totally different from Maria. How did you enjoy today’s match? Enjoyable match?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I think playing against people that you see on TV and stuff, it’s always really fun. And, yeah, I would have enjoyed the match less if I lost. So, of course, I enjoyed it today (smiling).
Like, how do I explain? Like, going into it is completely different. Like, the pace from the very warmup, it was totally different.
But, yeah, I feel like playing against the real good players, they don’t get angry or anything. So I think just focusing on what you have to do and stuff, I think that’s really good.
Q. You looked very patient today.
NAOMI OSAKA: Thanks.
Q. Waiting for what you need to do to go for your shot, is that your plan?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah. I mean, I wasn’t going to try to blast her off the court. I feel like she plays really good with pace, so I felt like I had to mix it up a lot and just sort of give her a little bit of no rhythm, even though that’s what she does to me, too.
So, yeah, I was just trying to be, like, mentally really calm and just go for it when I had it.
Q. Your results here typically have been pretty good. You have been able to play well in the desert. Is there something that you think is the — I don’t know, combination of the balls in the court? Is it the speed? Is it something about this tournament that seems to kind of get you to play some pretty good tennis?
NAOMI OSAKA: Um, well, I like this tournament. Like, I like how almost every court is a stadium. And, yeah, I think the court’s really good for me. I don’t really know what exactly about the court and stuff is good.
But when I first started hitting, the first day I started hitting, I really liked how it felt off my racquet, so I would say yeah.
Q. How was the atmosphere of Stadium 6? It’s packed.
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, it was cool (smiling). I wasn’t really trying to pay too much attention on it, because I just really wanted to get through this match.
I mean, I’m really grateful that people were cheering for me again. Yeah, I think that’s a really positive thing I took out of that.
Q. What is beating players like Sharapova and Radwanska, what’s that do for your confidence?
NAOMI OSAKA: Definitely doesn’t do anything bad for it. Well, I mean, it makes me confident but not — I don’t want to be overconfident, because I feel like that’s when people start — like, the self-doubt from there could only go down.
So I just — I want to be consistent at this level. I think that’s the first thing I want to work on. Other than that, I’m just trying to go, like, one point at a time and one match at a time.
Q. Quick question about Sascha.
NAOMI OSAKA: Hello.
Q. Don’t worry. You can slander him. I don’t know. A lot of times with younger players having somebody who has been on tour kind of in their boxes, either a coach or a hitting partner, could be helpful, obviously, from a technical and tactical side, but also just knowing how to be on tour, you know, like going from city to city, knowing where to eat, where to stay, you know, those sorts of things. Like, have you felt like a noticeable, you know, improvement or help that Sascha has offered you on that end of things?
NAOMI OSAKA: The thing is, okay, so, we were having, like, a debate, because he’s always like — once we go to this city, blah, blah, blah, I can take you anywhere, because it’s my city, right? I’m, like, um, he said that about New York. But the thing is, New York is sort of my city because I grew up there, so he’s going to have to pick a different city.
I went somewhere with that question and I can’t go back.
Q. You really did. You went a different way.
NAOMI OSAKA: Then I wanted to say something else. Oh, yeah. With the experience, blah, blah, blah.
I mean, he’s really helpful with that. I feel like — but he gets triggered very easily like — but other than that, he’s cool and stuff.
Q. What do you mean by he gets triggered easily?
NAOMI OSAKA: Like, he’ll argue just — when I’m just, like, chilling in the back. And then he decides he wants to fight for justice or whatever, so he’ll just start arguing. Everyone else is just fine, like — like, for example, if there is a path, right, and the path is, like, blocked off for no reason but you can go around it pretty easily, he’s just going to argue with the person that blocked the path. But you can just go around, you know?
So, yeah, he gets kind of triggered, but it’s okay, I guess. But other than that, he’s cool.
Q. Talk about being a New Yorker. What part of the city did you grow up in? What’s cool about being a New Yorker?
NAOMI OSAKA: Um, well, I grew up on Long Island. I mean, I used to go with my mom a lot to the city, like, whenever the US Open comes around. So my dad has family there. Like, it’s sort of like a big party and stuff. We go visit my dad’s side of the family. I really enjoy the US Open.
Q. What did you do with your mom in New York?
NAOMI OSAKA: Oh, like, I go to work with her. We were little, like, really little.
So, yeah. We would go to the Rockefeller Center and stuff, and there is always, like, good Japanese restaurants. We would go there.
Q. Maybe we haven’t heard you speak Japanese lately as much as before. Do you still keep studying Japanese? How often do you use it?
NAOMI OSAKA: Oh, I mean, I kind of speak it every day with Nana. So I would say I speak more now. I just don’t speak to you guys (laughter). Yeah, it kind of stresses me out a little bit. But, okay, I’ll start again, like, maybe in Miami.
Okay. Tomorrow maybe. Day after tomorrow maybe.
Q. At this point, we don’t know your next opponent, but let’s say it’s Garbiñe. What do you expect? What kind of a match do you expect from that one?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I was lucky enough to practice with her two times before that, so I kind of know the pace of the balls and stuff.
But I’m not really looking out too much. I sort of just want to focus on myself and what I have to do, because I feel like everyone from now — well, for me, even from the first round is a quality player. I don’t want to psych myself out too much.
Q. Where did you practice with her?
NAOMI OSAKA: Once in Tokyo and once in Birmingham, I think.
Q. Do you remember the first time that a top player, like, came to you and said, Hey, do you want to practice, like, on tour?
NAOMI OSAKA: No, it wasn’t me. It was in Tokyo. I remember I was the hitting partner for everyone in the year before I went to the finals. I don’t know what year that was.
NAOMI OSAKA: Okay, yeah. So I was, like, literally hitting with everyone, but I didn’t want to. I was really nervous and scared a little bit, but the tournament director for there, he was, like, they needed hitting partners, so I was just hitting with everyone. And I hit with Caroline a lot that year. I find it kind of ironic.
So, yeah, I mean, they don’t ask me. They sort of ask the coach. I’m just, like, Hello, I’ve got to hit with them today. Oh, God, I’m nervous. Other than that, yeah.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #366 at 2018-03-10 00:03:00 GMT