Melbourne - Naomi Osaka not only breathed new life into
this year’s Australian Open tournament, but she also brought a refreshing
outlook, delivered in her uniquely teenage way.
After losing 6-1, 6-1 to Victoria Azarenka in her third
round clash on Rod Laver Arena, she reflected on her experience in this
tournament - as well as some of her goals for the future.
On her impression of Azarenka, Osaka summed
it up in her typically teenage manner.
“She’s really good. Really good. I don’t
know. She’s like very solid, I feel. She hits like corners very well.”
Osaka broke Azarenka to love in the opening
service game of the match and was as surprised as everyone else.
“Oh, I was
like, it can’t be this easy. And then she like broke me and I was like, yeah,
When asked to evaluate her performance
Osaka was honest and to the point.
“A bit too defensively probably, and the
score is pretty terrible. Oh, God. I don’t know. I feel like I was like 20 feet
behind the baseline and she was just like hitting all my balls. I should have
tried to step in maybe.”
This honesty was further on display when Osaka
detailed some of the lessons she will take away from this loss to Azarenka.
“It’s like I’m learning. Honestly, I’m a bit glad she beat me like this because
I have like so much more to learn and I can take this as a good experience.”
As this is an unusual reaction to losing
such a big match, Osaka provided more details.
“Well, I mean, I’m glad I lost. I
would also be very happy if I won. Like I say that, because if I were just to
have beaten her I don’t think I would learn as much. I can learn more from my
mistakes than from winning.”
What a refreshing, wise and candid outlook from
such a young woman.
Osaka revealed her serving speeds were down
from her previous matches due to an abdominal injury she picked up in her last
“Oh, well, I strained my ab muscles, so I can’t really like... it hurts
How did it feel taking this injury into the match?
Like I really wanted to serve, but like I couldn’t.”
once a while a competitor comes along and catches your eye for all the right
reasons. Osaka is one of these cases. She is honest, open, talented, funny, and
I look forward to seeing the progression of
her career in the years to come as well as the joy and the welcome breath of
fresh of air she brings along with her.