Naomi Osaka Says She's 'Really Happy to Be Here' After Picking Up Second Win in Tokyo
Naomi Osaka is ready to keep winning.
Osaka, who is competing for Japan, won her second-round match at the Tokyo Summer Olympics on Monday, defeating Switzerland's Viktorija Golubic in two sets, 6-3, 6-2.
"Honestly, I feel like I was a bit more nervous before the match," Osaka told reporters afterwards. "I felt a lot of butterflies, but I think as I started playing and feeling more comfortable, I knew that no matter what it would be a great match."
However, while she may have been feeling more nerves, the 23-year-old athlete felt more relaxed on the court.
"I think yesterday I was a bit more intense," she said of her opening round match against China's 52nd-ranked Saisai Zheng, which she also won in straight sets.
As for hopefully winning gold in Tokyo, Osaka said that standing on that podium "would mean a lot."
"But I know it's a process," she added. "I know these are the best players in the world, and honestly I haven't played in a while, so I'm trying to take it one notch at a time."
"All in all, I'm just really happy to be here," she remarked.
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One aspect of the games that hasn't been as nerve-wracking? Lighting the Olympic cauldron.
"Honestly, I didn't feel pressure," Osaka told reporters on Monday. "I felt more excitement. It was like a sense of duty, something I wanted to accomplish."
The athlete previously called the experience "undoubtedly the greatest athletic achievement and honor I will ever have in my life."
Earlier this month, Osaka wrote an essay for Time magazine, reflecting on the pressure she felt to disclose personal details about her mental health.
"In my case, I felt under a great amount of pressure to disclose my symptoms — frankly because the press and the tournament did not believe me," she wrote. "I do not wish that on anyone and hope that we can enact measures to protect athletes."
Her next match is on Tuesday, when she'll compete against Markéta Vondroušová.
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.