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Leaner, mature Osaka stays grounded in Melbourne

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Naomi Osaka is now not a shy, introvert teenager and the latest Grand Slam winner in ladies’s tennis says she owes her adulthood to final yr’s U.S. Open triumph.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia – January 11, 2019 – Japan’s Naomi Osaka trains. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Final September the Florida-based Jap participant beat Serena Williams at Flushing Meadows, denying her adolescence idol a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam singles identify.

Identified for her humility and introverted nature up to now, Osaka left the attending media in splits at her pre-Australian Open press convention on Saturday.

“I feel it might be dangerous if I modified in, like, 3 months,” the 21-year-old stated, brimming with smile. “I don’t actually really feel that a lot other.

“I feel one of the most largest issues is that I am going into the principle media room now, in order that’s modified. I believe like I’m extra relaxed speaking to other folks.

“I’ve form of been put within the place that I’ve to. It’s no longer one thing I will keep away from to any extent further.”

Status at the podium on the U.S. Open ready to be passed her trophy and a winner’s take a look at after defeating Williams in an ill-tempered last, Osaka heard handiest boos from an offended and annoyed crowd.

That will have wilted maximum nerves of metal however it induced Osaka to paintings extra at the psychological facets of her sport throughout the low season.

“One in every of my largest objectives is to be extra mature, love to mature as an individual,” she stated. “And I believe like in some way I’m, however in different portions I’m very, like, three-year-old mentality, ?

“I believe find it irresistible’s simply leveling that out is certainly one of my largest objectives I had throughout the low season.”

She has additionally misplaced weight throughout the low season however strictly to lend a hand her support her sport.

“I need to be quicker. It’s no longer for appears to be like or anything else. I believe find it irresistible is helping me play higher. Like, I am getting to the ball quicker, and I’m no longer as sore,” she stated.

Melbourne Park stays a different position for Osaka because the Australian Open used to be the primary Grand Slam the place she were given into the principle draw throughout the qualifiers in 2016.

Issues have modified considerably since then however Osaka isn’t getting an excessive amount of forward of herself.

“I imply, I believe like, in fact, I’ve to take it one step at a time. Nobody desires to lose within the first spherical of a slam, I feel. That will be my rapid function,” she stated.

“From there, I’ve been within the 3rd spherical 100 million occasions already. That will be my subsequent function. Expectantly semis after that. Then I will take into accounts, like, the finals and profitable.

“There’s such a lot of excellent avid gamers on this draw, I do know that everybody desires to win this event. My first, rapid idea isn’t to win.”

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Osaka’s compatriot and previous U.S. Open finalist, Kei Nishikori, has had a excellent run within the leadup to the Australian Open and overcame Daniil Medvedev within the Brisbane Global last on Sunday for his first ATP identify in just about 3 years.

3 times a quarter-finalist at Melbourne Park, Nishikori neglected final yr’s Australian Open with a wrist harm and hopes he can growth additional this yr.

“That’s going to be my function this yr, to do higher within the Grand Slams, all of the Grand Slams,” the 2014 U.S. Open finalist stated. “This one, hope I will pass farther than quarter-final.”

Reporting by way of Sudipto Ganguly; modifying by way of Amlan Chakraborty

Our Requirements:The Thomson Reuters Consider Ideas.

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