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Saturday, March 9, 2019

It’s not about defending, it’s about getting another one at Indian Wells: Naomi Osaka

World number one Naomi Osaka returns to the California Desert to begin her first title defense at Indian Wells. However, the Japanese star is not looking at defending and is instead focused on winning another title. It was the Indian Wells WTA triumph that proved to be the springboard of success for the 21-year-old as she went on to win the Australian Open which took her career rankings from 44th in the world to numero uno within a year.

Admitting that she’s still learning to cope with the pressure of heightened expectations, Osaka said, “It’s not about defending, it’s about getting another one.”
“I don’t really believe in defending, I believe in getting another one. I was just here to have fun, maybe get to the quarters,” AFP quoted her as saying.
“It sounds bad saying it but it’s true because I never really went far in a tournament like this. I kept playing really great players in every round and I was just like, I’m here for a good time, you know,” she said.
“But then I kept winning, I was like, ‘Whoa, maybe I can actually win this tournament, and I did.” It hasn’t been a smooth progression ever since, back-to-back Grand Slam titles notwithstanding,” she said.
Stressing on the importance of enjoying her game, she said, “I just want to do the things that I practice and know that I can do well and even if things aren’t going my way try to find a way to win matches. I think I did that in the Australian Open. Hopefully I can refine that skill.”
Osaka will face 67th-ranked Kristina Mladenovic in her second-round Indian Wells opener. It will be a tricky test for the youngster as Mladenovic had beaten her in Dubai.