Australian Open Champion Naomi Osaka says she was more “fearless” last year ahead of title defence


Naomi Osaka spoke ahead of her return to the Australian Open and even gave an update on the returning Kim Clijsters

Defending Australian Open Champion Naomi Osaka was at her candid best during the press conference ahead of her title defence.

The champion faces Marie Bouzkova in the first round and will be one of the favourites for the Grand Slam.

The Japanese star was asked several questions with the first one being if she was feeling as confident as last year.

Naomi Osaka Australian Open
Naomi Osaka won the Australian Open in 2019 (Image credit: Getty)

Osaka was her normal self and she believed she was more fearless in the previous year.

“I think so, I feel like last year, last year, I was feeling kind of young. I was this young kid going out.

“My goal was to win, and nothing was going to stop now.

“Now I appreciate more, every single win, because I know what it took to get it.

“Of course, I want to win every match and go out and do that. That’s what I am here for, I think last year I was a little bit more fearless.”

One of the talking points has been the return of Kim Clijsters. The Belgian is returning after seven years away from the circuit, and Osaka was asked if the 36-year-old was her rival:

“My rivals? Why does everyone keep asking me questions like this?”

The Japanese star went on to say that she had never played her but was open to it someday. Osaka added that Clijsters deserved respect for her past accolades too.

Osaka’s rivalry

Another journalist asked if there was any Tennis player she wanted to face as a rival or if it was just her sister.

Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka won two Grand Slams till 2019 (Image credit: Getty)

Osaka didn’t name anyone in particular and claimed she was still new to the circuit:

“Honestly, I am figuring that out. I think having a rival is something rare though. Its someone you have played consecutive times and its been super tough, like you win some and lose some.

“But I am just so new, I haven’t played someone more than four or five times, so I feel like having a rival right now would be a blessing but I don’t think there is anyone I have played that many times.”

She later claimed that having a rivalry would be fun as people could root for stars and highlighted the Roger Federer vs Rafa Nadal duel.

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