No.1 Naomi Osaka will not be silent about dreaming big, which includes a historic bid at Roland Garros to win her first three major titles back-to-back-to-back.
WTA Insider Courtney Nguyen
May 24, 2019

PARIS, France - World No.1 Naomi Osaka may be soft-spoken, but she is not shy about speaking her dreams into reality. 

The two-time major champion has her eyes on the prize at Roland Garros, a tournament at which she has never progressed past the third round. Then again, she had never been past the third round of the US Open last summer, nor past the Round of 16 at the Australian Open. She won them both.

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In a fascinating exchange with reporters at Media Day ahead of the French Open, the 21-year-old was asked whether she believed she could win the US Open last summer, whether she believed she could win in Melbourne in January, and whether she believes she can win the French Open now.

"The US Open, no," Osaka said with a smile. "Mainly because I lost three matches in a row before that. Honestly, I just wanted to play well. Maybe get to the quarters, you know? Just have a good time. But then I ended up winning.

"But actually, in Australia, the goal was to win. That was what I was waking up every day thinking. Like the walk through the tunnel [towards Rod Laver Arena], you see the two trophies. I would kind of tap that, the woman's trophy side.

"In the Australian Open, my mindset was very different from the US Open.

"I always had really big goals and dreams. I always thought I would be No.1 and win a Grand Slam [by the time] I was 18. I know that sounds kind of crazy." 

"For me here, I'm trying to emulate the same mindset. I don't want to be here thinking I want to get to the quarters. Of course I have never been that far here before, but my end goal is to win, of course."

"I always had really big goals and dreams. I always thought I would be No.1 and win a Grand Slam [by the time] I was 18. I know that sounds kind of crazy. 

"When that didn't happen, I was a little bit depressed. I was thinking, I'm kind of late to the party.

"Then I kind of realized that everyone has their own path. I'm not really supposed to compare myself to anyone else and I should just keep working as hard as I can, and eventually I'll get to where I want to be. Yeah, just sort of enjoy the ride type of thing."

If being a Grand Slam champion and No.1 by 18-years-old was Osaka's childhood dream, what are her dreams now that she is a 21-year-old two-time major champion and World No.1?

"I mean, Roland Garros," Osaka said, laughing and pointing to the tournament signage in front the dais. "That's, for me, what I'm dreaming about right now.

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"If you're talking about longer goals, of course I haven't won Wimbledon yet either, and it would be really cool to win everything in one year.

"But also the Olympics are coming up, too. We're not forgetting about that. I think there are so many things going on. I'm just focusing on a lot at one time."

Osaka's casual demeanor when discussing her desire to win Roland Garros, Wimbledon, and all four majors in one year, caused more than a handful of journalists to let out an audible chuckle. Tennis players are typically reticent to tell the world their deepest desires for fear of being mocked or inviting pressure that might not otherwise exist. 

Naomi Osaka is not typical. 

"This year I called my mom in the second round [in Melbourne]. I was, like, Do you want to come to Australia because I'm going to win this tournament." 

Asked where that ambition comes from, especially given Osaka's self-described introverted and shy personality, Osaka said there's simply no other choice.

"Well, in the past, I was more reserved," Osaka explained. "Like, I always wanted to win US Open and Australian but I wouldn't tell anyone, because I wouldn't really believe that I could at the same time. I think it might be a confidence thing, too.

"Yeah, this year I called my mom in the second round [in Melbourne]. I was, like, Do you want to come to Australia because I'm going to win this tournament. 

"She was, like, No," Osaka said, laughing. "No, I'm with your sister. No thank you. I was, like, Okay."

"I have always been a believer of you have to say it for it to come true. And you have to believe it with all of your heart because if even 1% of you doesn't believe it, then there is a chance that it won't come true."

"But for me, I have always been a believer of you have to say it for it to come true. And you have to believe it with all of your heart because if even 1% of you doesn't believe it, then there is a chance that it won't come true.

"I don't know. It's one of those where there is a will there's a way, and even though it might not turn how you wanted it to, you wouldn't have that regret."

Osaka puts her 14-match win streak at the Slams on the line in the first round against Slovakia's Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.