Friday, August 9, 2019
S. WILLIAMS/N. Osaka
THE MODERATOR: Questions in English, please.
Q. Can you please walk us through the ups and downs of the match?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, I honestly don’t really think there was ups and downs. I think in the first set we were kind of just serving it out, and then I was the one that — I don’t even think I dipped. I just think that I gave her too many second serve looks, and she just did what she does.
But, yeah, I’m not really mad at this. Like, I don’t think it was up and down. I think I played pretty well. And she just played amazing, which that’s what she does, so…
Q. You said yesterday that you’re trying to get comfortable for New York. Given the matches here this week, are you feeling like you’re on the right process for the US Open?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, definitely. I think I stayed positive throughout all my matches. I tried different things. I tried to slice. I tried to drop shot. And, you know, I think I played really well despite the circumstances.
So, yeah, I think moving on forward into Cincinnati and into New York, I can have a lot of positive things.
Q. Serena had, I believe, 12 or 13 aces tonight. Did you find it a little bit more difficult reading her serve this time around compared to the previous two matches?
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, it’s always hard to read her serve, but I don’t think it was whether I found it more difficult. I think it was just going in more compared to last time or — I don’t know.
For me, no, I don’t think there was a this time or that time. I just think that she just adjusted better than me.
Q. What was your reaction when you hit that drop shot when Serena almost ran into the pole?
NAOMI OSAKA: It wasn’t almost. I think she did, actually.
Q. Well, when she ran into it, what was your reaction? Because you didn’t even think the ball was in when you hit it.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, so I hit the drop shot and then I, like, started complaining. And, like, you know, when you do that thing where you just put your head down. And then I hear people going « gasp, » and then I look and she’s, like, in the net.
And I’m, like, Did my ball just go in? And the umpire is looking at her and she’s looking at her arm, and I’m, like, What’s going on?
And then he calls the game, so then I’m — I don’t know. I was kind of shocked. And then I look at the monitor during the changeover and then I see everything what happened.
Q. What did you and Serena say at the net after the match? What words were exchanged?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, basically she said nice match, which I thought it was a nice match.
Q. What are the positives you take away? You played three matches here. And as you reflect on this week and go into Cincinnati, what are the things that you reflect on overall that you feel like you did well? I think positive attitude, but what else do you feel like you did well here?
NAOMI OSAKA: Well, I think I served well. Just like trying to be solid, I guess. For me, honestly, anything is positive compared to Wimbledon.
And I just try to grow on every match. And even though I lost today, I learned a lot, which is something that I’m really grateful for and something that I really looked towards when I play matches anyway.
So there’s, like, a lot of big positives. And I sliced a couple that actually went in (smiling), so that’s also something good.
Q. Besides the serve, did you feel that her movement tonight was better than when you faced her the first two times where she was able to stay in the rallies a little bit longer compared to how you were able to edge them out in the first two matches, specifically the Miami match?
NAOMI OSAKA: I’m not really sure. Like, I don’t have the best memory. So, like, that was a year ago, so I don’t really remember that.
You’re going to have to ask, like, her physio or her fitness trainer, like, someone that sees her on the daily.
Q. This was the first time I saw you play in person, and I noticed that in your service motion you, like, spin the racket a few times and then the grasp the racket, but you keep waving the racket a little bit. Is there a story behind that?
NAOMI OSAKA: I didn’t even know I do that. (Smiling.)
But, yeah, there’s not really a story. Maybe just like an anxious thing. Because I do know if I don’t grip it right while I’m spinning, I have to do the whole thing over.
Q. Did anyone ever tell you to stop spinning it?
NAOMI OSAKA: Man, if someone tells me to stop spinning it, I’ll only spin it more because I have a problem with listening. (Laughing.)
Q. You’re going to be the world No. 1 again on Monday. Any thoughts or feelings on that?
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I guess excited. But also at the same time, I feel like that’s a position that I think requires a lot of work and a lot of just hardheadedness. I can’t really let what other people say affect me.
And I just have to keep working hard and putting effort, and I think that the results, of course, will show. But I have to not think too much about winning or losing.
THE MODERATOR: Questions in Japanese.
(Naomi’s English answers to Japanese questions.)
NAOMI OSAKA: I mean, for me, I just feel like the entire match I was a bit too defensive. I know that can’t be helped when I’m playing against her.
But I think there were chances where she hit shorter balls, but I wasn’t expecting her to hit the shorter balls, so I didn’t move up on time. So I guess points like that made a really big difference.
And also just on the forehand side, I think I hit a little bit too flat. I think when I’m behind the baseline so far back, I should hit a little bit more spin, like, more air on the ball.
NAOMI OSAKA: Yeah, I mean, mentally, I mean, for me it’s always fun to play her. This is someone that I looked up to forever. And, actually, this is how I thought the first time I played her in Miami was going to go.
So in a weird way, losing today I accomplished my dream (laughing). I know that sounds kind of weird, but, you know, if there’s anyone in the world that I would want to lose to — of course I would never want to lose, but I don’t mind losing to her because I learned a lot.
And this is someone that I kind of modeled my game after when I was little. So this is, like, such a big learning experience for me.