Naomi Osaka recently hosted a Q&A session on her Instagram Stories, where she talked about her mantra for dealing with naysayers, her experience of lighting the Olympic cauldron at the Tokyo Games, and a behind-the-scenes moment from the 2021 Australian Open.
In one of the questions, a fan urged Osaka to play every match at the Australian Open with the conviction that she has something to prove. She replied by asserting that she has nothing to prove to anyone, since naysayers will always be critical of her, irrespective of the number of Grand Slams she wins.
"Enter every match in this tournament like you have something to prove," a fan stressed.
"Respectfully I don't have anything to prove," Osaka said. "Before my first slam I was told I had potential but probably not gonna capitalize on it. After my first slam I was told I got lucky and I was a one-hit wonder. After my second Slam I was told I could be great but I was unsure. After my third and fourth slams I was told I will only be good on hard courts. Moral of the story - people are always gonna have something to say and idgaf [I don't give a f***] anymore."
The World No. 14 was next asked to share a funny behind-the-scenes incident with her fans. In reply, Osaka revealed how her feet couldn't fit inside her heels during her 'champion's photoshoot' from last year's Australian Open. The Japanese star recalled spending 20 minutes looking for new shoes and those who were present at the photoshoot now refer to it as the 'shoe incident'.
"Some random funny behind-the-scenes moment we don't know of?" a fan asked the 4-time Major champion.
"For the life of me I couldn't put on the heels I was supposed to wear for the trophy picture last year. Spent 20 minutes trying to find new shoes, came back this year and found out it's now being referred to as the shoe incident," she said.
A 13-year-old aspiring tennis player told Naomi Osaka that he had won just a single tournament thus far and asked for some advice. Osaka replied by pointing out that she didn't win any tournament as a child and emphasized that winning isn't important as long as one enjoys playing the sport.
"I'm 13 years old and I've won only one tournament is that okay?" asked a fan.
"I literally didn't win a single tournament when I was young so you are doing amazing in my eyes. But all jokes aside, winning isn't important as long as you are enjoying yourself and the challenges, especially at your age, that's all that matters," the 24-year-old said.
"Tennis put me in the position to be able to light the Olympic torch in Tokyo" - Naomi Osaka
During the Q&A, Naomi Osaka was asked to talk about her biggest tennis accomplishment thus far. In reply, she expressed her gratitude for having had the opportunity to take part in the Olympic torch relay at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The four-time Grand Slam champion became the first tennis player in history to be given the honor of lighting the Olympic cauldron.
"What would you say would be your biggest accomplishment so far, tennis wise?" a fan asked Osaka.
"Tennis put me in the position to be able to light the Olympic torch in Tokyo. I think that's something I am gonna remember and be so grateful for the rest of my life," she said.
Seeded 13th, Osaka is slated to take on Colombia's Camila Osorio in the first round of the 2022 Australian Open tomorrow.