Naomi Osaka may be one of the favourites for the US Open title but insists she is not thinking about winning the tournament since it puts too much pressure on her. The Japanese player wore a mask with the name of Elijah McClain as she walked on to the court for her second round match and moved one step closer to her third Grand Slam title after a 6-1, 6-2 win over Italy's Camilla Giorgi on Wednesday in New York.
After her match, the 22 year old Japanese player said she was happy with her performance but is not thinking too far ahead while speaking to the media.
"But, yeah, I definitely played I think the best out of the two weeks that I've been here today.
I stopped thinking about winning. I feel like I put too much pressure on myself. I'm only thinking about putting myself in a good position to win. But I'm taking it match by match." She also refused to go into details about the leg injury, which had forced her to withdraw from the final of last week's Southern & Western Open, perhaps a sign to not let her opponents know too much about her condition.
"Then the leg tape, I didn't do so well in my last match because -- I don't know. Should I be telling you this (smiling)? Yeah, I guess you could say it's preventative. Yeah, let's just go with that."
Naomi Osaka gets a special message from her mom after latest US Open win
After her match, Osaka was connected surprisingly to her mother, who is in Florida currently, on the on-court screen by the organisers. Although there were some technological issues during the call, Osaka's mom was able to get some advice through to her daughter.
"Yeah, for me, I wasn't expecting it to happen. It was a surprise. Apparently my sister told my mom to do it. But definitely wasn't expecting it. It was a bit odd because I remember I was watching Muchova playing Venus yesterday, and then I saw that she got a call, I don't know if it's a call or a FaceTime, from Rebel Wilson.
I was like, Oh, that's kind of cool. So, she was saying, like, there were four lines. Thumbs up fire, which is like good job. There was like a Twitter bird, whatever. She was saying don't go on social media, get some sleep.
Then drink a lot of green juice, get some rest. And I love you." Naomi Osaka, a US Open winner in 2018, will next meet 18 year old Ukrainian Marta Kostyuk in the third round of the tournament