Wednesday, August 7, 2019 – Naomi Osaka plays Tatjana Maria in Round 2 of Rogers Cup presented by National Bank at the Aviva Centre in Toronto, Ontario. (Peter Power/Tennis Canada)
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
N. OSAKA/T. Maria
6-2, 0-0 [Ret.]
Q. Despite it being unfortunate for Tatjana, it seemed that you were adjusting to her slice real well and were hitting the ball pretty decently. If you could just assess if you were hitting the ball well enough in that first set.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, well, I thought I played really well despite the fact that we only played one set.
I think that I was able to do what I wanted, which was go for the shots that I had the opportunity to. And, of course, there were, like, a couple unforced errors, but I think that’s part of the process.
For me, I’m just happy that it was my first match in a while and I was able to get in the groove of things quickly.
Q. Has it been a while since you played a secondary court like today?
NAOMI OSAKA: A second day court?
Q. Secondary court.
NAOMI OSAKA: Oh, no. I don’t know. I feel like I’m not the type of person that really cares about what court I play on. For me, I kind of like the smaller courts more, because it feels closer to the crowd anyway. So I’m not that picky.
Q. Do you feel like it’s been a bit more low key for you here? A lot of the attention on other players like Bianca and Serena?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, yeah, but also no. I don’t really pay attention to things. So I’m not really the one to ask that.
But, yeah, I mean, I hit on Court 10 a lot now, so it’s kind of far from everyone. So I don’t really see as much people as I normally do. But also, at the same time, that’s also due to me trying to really focus this tournament.
Q. You’ve had a few days to get accustomed to the city. You’ve been here before, but the reception that you got after was quite amazing. You have a lot of fans in the city. I wondered if over the last few days you’ve gotten out to the city to visit the sites or the restaurants or any of the communities in the city? There’s a big Asian population here and you have a lot of support from them.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, the one off day I had I went to Queen Street, took a couple of pictures there.
But, yeah, other than that, I’ve just mainly been training and trying to really practice hard for this tournament. Because this is, like, one of the hardest tournaments straight out the gate.
Q. Solid was your form today and solid was your first pitch with the Dodgers a few weeks ago. So if you could assess that whole feeling of throwing out a first pitch and how well you did since you threw it almost right down the middle.
NAOMI OSAKA: That day was really nerve racking for me because I really didn’t want to be on ESPN for top 10 worst throws.
So, yeah, I mean, honestly if I — I don’t want to gauge my nerve, like, my nervous feelings, but I think I was more nervous for that than for the US Open final. Like, I was sweating, the ball was like slipping out of my hand. And I was like, Wow, this is how it’s really going to happen.
But, yeah, I was really happy when it didn’t turn out as bad as I thought it was going to.
Q. Do you think an event like that can kind of relax you more for some of these tournaments coming up? Not as nerve racking?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, for me, an event like that, it’s just — it kind of broadens my mind. Like, I saw how other athletes — I like meeting athletes from different sports and just interacting with them, because everyone is sort of different the way they warm up, the way they kind of carry themselves. So for me, that was the highlight.
Q. Speaking of relaxing more, your Instagram post about relearning to have fun, I’m curious, what does that look like for you personally? Are you doing anything differently this week or approaching this tournament differently than you have in the past?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, the past is, like, let’s delete — okay. Not delete, but let’s not count clay court and grass, and also Indian Wells, Miami. Actually, no. Indian Wells wasn’t that bad for me. We can count Indian Wells. Just don’t count Miami.
So that entire period, I think I was just way too hard on myself, which is due to the fact that I’m a perfectionist. Like, I could hit one hundred balls right, and then the one ball that I hit wrong is the thing that I think about the entire time.
And honestly, I’m just learning how to not be that way and how to just kind of chill on myself.
Q. I don’t know if it’s your routine to come to the court with your headphones on. I’m just curious what sound track you’re listening to, if it’s different than what you would normally listen to before a match?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, I always come on the court with headphones on. It’s just the ones before were, like, tiny earphones. So I got these babies now (smiling).
But now I’m listening to — I was listening to a lot of throwback songs, honestly, like Mario. (Laughing.) You know, I like that R&B. I really feel like I was missing that.
Q. Speaking of music, do you have already a favorite track from the Lost Boy album?
NAOMI OSAKA: This is not a question I was expecting from a tennis tournament. (Smiling.)
Favorite song. There is a lot, though.
I really like Way Back Home, actually. Like, it’s very chill. You can use it to pump yourself up a little bit; you can use it to sleep.
Q. Since you’re picking favorites, you talked about liking to meet other athletes. Has there been a favorite meeting you’ve had or a particularly memorable one?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, there has been, but I’m not really sure if I’m allowed to say yet. (Smiling.) Wait and see, I guess.
Q. Tomorrow night you would either play Caroline Wozniacki or Iga Swiatek. They’re quite different players. What is the challenge that each of them offers to you out there on the court?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I’ve played and practiced with Caroline a couple times. I have never won, so I know that’s going to be very difficult. She’s one of the best returners in the game. She moves really well, and she’s quite a good counter-puncher too. Like, I know what I have to expect going into that.
But I have never played Iga? Yeah. I didn’t want to mispronounce her name. I have never played her before. I have seen a couple of points of her playing, like, around at different tournaments, but I’ve never really sat down and watched. So I think I’m going to have to do that tonight. But she’s young, and young people usually have no fear. I know that from experience.
(Naomi’s English answers to Japanese questions.)
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I feel like of course it could have been better. But I think for the first round I was just going more for percentage-wise. I don’t know how high the percentage of my first serve in it was today, but I don’t feel like I hit too many second serves, so I don’t think it was that bad.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, for me, the whole objective today was I knew she was going to slice a lot, so I had to be ready for that. And just to go in when I had the chance and try to finish at the net.
So I was just trying to be really aggressive on every ball that I had the chance to and sort of give her a bit of height and depth.