The basketball star Kobe Bryant attended Naomi Osaka's match on Thursday at the US Open. Speaking about how it felt to see a new face on her box, the Japanese player said: "I don't feel like it's pressure, but I do feel like I did want to play well.
I don't know. It's just funny to me. You know, like, last year compared to this year there is no way, like, Kobe would sit in my box (smiling). Yeah, Kaepernick, too. It's just crazy who you run into in life. For me, it wasn't pressure.
It was just like I really didn't want them to sit in the sun too long, honestly. That was the thing that was on my mind. I was, like, I don't really want to play a third set. I know Kobe. This is actually the first time I have ever met Colin, and it wasn't even through me.
So, yeah, I mean, everybody knows Kobe gives me real-life advice. He's someone I look up to as an athlete and also as a person. I'm really grateful that I even have the opportunity to, like, talk to him and stuff."
On Cori Gauff, Osaka added: "On the court she seems like me. Well, she seems a little bit more, like, she knows what she's doing (smiling). I just mean, like, I'm very quiet. I've gotten actually a bit talkative recently, though.
But, yeah, I saw her in the locker room. She wasn't really talking to anyone. I was, like, Oh, looks familiar. I'm just going to talk to her. I know she's super young, and I know it's sort of hard to transition. I wasn't even a junior, but I can only imagine as a junior you play these tournaments with your friends, and then you come to the pros and you don't know anyone.
I just, like, Oh, she's a really talented girl. I would love for her to come out of her shell a little bit. I just realize that's probably what people say about me, too. Yeah, she's super sweet and I would love to play her, of course.
For me, when I hear people talking about someone, I want to have the opportunity to play them just to assess it for myself. You know what I mean? So, yeah, definitely would love that, but at the same time I know she's going to have to get through a tough opponent. I'm fine with whoever I play."