The Japanese star Naomi Osaka, in press conference after the defeat against Maria Sakkari at the Miami Open 2021, said very interesting things. The four-time Slam champion, winner of the last Australian Open, spoke of the disappointment of defeat and the future, especially of tournaments on clay-courts.
She said: “What can I learn from this defeat? I’m not sure at the moment. I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy match against her but in general I couldn’t find my footprint in the whole tournament, so for me mentally it’s It’s hard to play against top level tennis players when I feel like I have low quality tennis.
Right now I feel like when I lost to Coco Gauff in Australia in 2020, but there is something different. I feel I have played worse here but that I fought harder. So I’m improving in that respect because I think even if you don’t play great you have to find ways to win.
Naomi Osaka’s press conference
The last time I was sitting here I wasn’t thinking about the leaderboard at all, but someone made me that question and so I started thinking about it a lot. So maybe unintentionally this put pressure on me, but ultimately I think I have to be able to rise above these things and overcome them.
I will be asked many various questions so I shouldn’t worry so much as it happened in this case. I believe that beyond everything I will feel freer both on the ground and on the grass, because for me it is as if I am still learning on these surfaces.
I would love to win a tournament on clay and I think I will learn a lot from Wim Fissette. He is very energetic and enthusiastic about moving to new surfaces.” Following the first Australian success, on 28 January 2019 it also reached the first place in the world ranking for the first time.
Naomi was the first ever Japanese athlete to win a Grand Slam title, the third in the Open Era to qualify for the WTA Finals in 2018 and the first Asian ever to reach the top of the WTA rankings.