NEW YORK, New York - 2018 US Open champion Naomi Osaka's life is going to change dramatically after becoming the first Japanese player, man or woman, to ever win a major title. But first, she just wants to eat some ice cream.
The 20-year-old is still trying to process her last 24 hours, which saw her defeat her self-professed idol Serena Williams 6-2, 6-4 to win the US Open on Saturday night. Since then there have been non-stop media rounds, an appearance on the Today Show, and she's set to fly to Los Angeles for an appearance on Ellen. All this with a trip back to Japan to reunite with her family and receive a champion's homecoming at the Toray Pan Pacific Open, which begins on September 17th.
Now up to No.4 on the Porsche Race to Singapore Leaderboard, Osaka admits she has her eye on qualifying for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore for the first time in her career. But it's not for the reasons one might expect:
"I went to the Adidas distribution and they have this special dress for the people who go to Singapore, so I really wanted to go to Singapore," Osaka said on the WTA Insider Podcast. "So I'm going to make that my No.1 goal right now, and I think it's been working out."
Hear from Osaka on the newest episode of the WTA Insider Podcast, which includes Osaka's immediate reaction to her astounding title run in New York, why she hopes Serena isn't mad at her, and her thoughts the day after, as the heft of what she accomplished began to sink in.
Listen to the full episode below:
WTA Insider: So what has the last 12 hours been like for you?
Osaka: Mainly it's just been a lot of people saying congratulations. I ate dinner, then I got treatment, and I fell asleep. Since then it's been a lot of interviews.
WTA Insider: What's been the main thing going through your mind?
Osaka: To be honest, I'm thinking I'm very tired. Also, I feel like there's so much stuff happening. Everything is going really fast so I haven't had a chance to process it.
WTA Insider: Have you talked to your sister?
Osaka: She said she was proud and that she cried when she watched it. I was like, thank god you weren't here because if I saw you crying I would have cried more.
WTA Insider: More?
Osaka: Yeah, it was a mess, but it would have been more of a mess.
WTA Insider: What was it like to reunite with your family and team after winning?
Osaka: My mom was always crying, so whatever. My dad was really cool. He's always the cool one, so he wasn't crying or anything. Sascha was kind of crying, basically everyone was kind of crying except my dad. Yeah, it was kind of emotional.
Insider: A few days before the US Open, you posted a note on Twitter explaining what had been going through your head the last few months and why you thought things might be turning around. Why did you feel the need to post that and do you feel vindicated because you were right? Two weeks later you're a US Open champion.
Osaka: I just feel like I posted it because I felt I needed to share my thoughts because that's what social media is for. And I know there were a lot of people that may have been concerned or something about how I was doing.
And I don't really feel vindicated or anything. I just like I put in a lot of hard work and it kind of showed. Hopefully I can keep continuing this way.
WTA Insider: A lot has been made over the last two weeks of your composure. Do those questions humor you? In other words, are you actually as cool and calm as we think you are?
Osaka: No, I think a part of me is very nervous all the time and stressed out. That's why it's not really common for me to be that calm. I think it's only been Indian Wells and here and it's hard for me to get that consistency, but I'm working on it. But I feel like in those situations the only thing I can only try my best. So that's the mentality I have whenever people tell me I'm calm.
WTA Insider: Do you see any common thread between Indian Wells and New York that might explain why you did so well?
Osaka: I was just thinking more about having fun and not really caring - well, I do care if I win or lose - but even if I lose, the fact that I put 100% effort into every ball, that was my main focus.
WTA Insider: Are you ready for your life to change dramatically? I'm pretty sure that's going to happen.
Osaka: Well if you say it, it must be true (laughter). I guess a part of me is, but at the same time I think it's sort of weird, the things that are happening. But I guess it's more interesting if life changes instead of being the same.
Insider: Are there things that you're looking forward to about your life potentially changing?
Osaka: It's always about food, but, hopefully I can eat katsu-don or katsu-curry. I really want to eat green tea ice cream right now, so hopefully my life can change to eat green tea ice cream (laughter).
WTA Insider: You're now in the Top 10, you started the year at No.68 and will be No.7 on Monday. You're in the Top 8 on the Porsche Race to Singapore. How do you approach the end of the season?
Osaka: Ok this is going to sound really weird. So I went to the Adidas distribution, right? And they have this special dress for the people who go to Singapore, so I really wanted to go to Singapore.
So I'm going to make that my No.1 goal right now, and I think it's been working out.