Naomi Osaka, 24, admitted she felt “overwhelmed” after making her WTA debut and going to her first press conference was a big learning experience at the time.
In 2014, a 16-year-old Osaka made her WTA debut at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose.
Eight years later, Osaka is a four-time Grand Slam champion and one of the top favorites to win it all this week in San Jose.
“I remember being overwhelmed,” Osaka said of her debut, per The San Francisco Chronicle. “It was my first time going to a press conference. It was a learning experience.”
Osaka is now the highest-paid female athlete in the world and a major superstar globally.
“Now I’ve gotten to the point where people pay to watch me play,” Osaka said. “For that, I’m very grateful.”
Osaka on her goals at this stage of her career
Osaka has accomplished what every tennis players of – winning a Grand Slam and becoming the top-ranked player in the world.
Now, Osaka’s main goal is to have fun and entertain tennis fans.
“To be honest,” Osaka said, “I’d just like to have fun.”
Also, Osaka opened up about her decision to publicly speak about her mental health problems.
“For me, speaking about it wasn’t something, in the moment, that I was proud of,” Osaka said. “Later, when people told me they were dealing with the same stuff, I thought, ‘Oh, I’m glad I was talking about it.’ But, in that moment last year, I just wanted to stay at home all the time. I feel like I learned a lot from last year. People telling me they were struggling, too, and I feel like we were getting through it together. That’s been a really cool experience, to share that with everyone.”
After being out for two months due to an Achilles injury, Osaka is kicking off her summer on hard courts this week.