Naomi Osaka told reporters that she is "not God" and can’t be expected to win every match after she lost 4-6 6-3 7-6 to Amanda Anisimova in the third round of the Australian Open.
Prior to the tournament Osaka had said that she intended to focus more on the enjoyment of playing rather than scrutinising and obsessing over on-court success.
And in her post-match press conference, the two-time Australian Open winner was asked whether she could draw positives from her performance on Margaret Court Arena.
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“Yeah, [I can take fun from the match] definitely. I think I fought for every point,” said the defending champion.
“I can't be sad about that. You know, like I'm not God. I can't win every match. So I just have to take that into account and know that it would be nice to win the tournament, but that's really special and I can't think of myself to try to win the Grand Slam at the start of the year every time.”
Osaka was visibly frustrated during her 5-7 7-6 (2) 6-4 loss to Canada's Leylah Fernandez at the US Open back in September, after which she announced she would be taking a break from tennis. But the 24-year-old added that she had a completely different attitude at the first Grand Slam of the year.
“For me, I feel like I grew a lot in this match. The last match that I played in New York I think I had a completely different attitude, so I'm really happy with - of course I lost - but I'm happy with how it went.”
Anisimova, who had picked up wins against Arianne Hartono and Belinda Bencic previously, will now face world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty in the last 16.
"I’m speechless, I absolutely love playing in front of you guys [the crowd] in Melbourne, honestly it’s so much fun," said Anisimova after the match.
"I can’t stop smiling even when I’m playing, even though I should be serious, I’m just laughing with what you guys say sometimes.
"I knew I had to be playing sharp if I wanted to give myself a chance, Naomi is always going to be playing well and she’s an absolute champion. I knew I had to step up my game and try to be aggressive, I think that’s what I started doing in the second set.
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"I’m so grateful I was able to play so well today and get this win, it means a lot. Stepping on to the court, all I’m thinking about is having fun, every single day here is an amazing opportunity and experience for me."
The winner of Anisimova and Barty will face either Jessica Pegula or Maria Sakkari at the quarter-final stage.
Watch dramatic final set tie-break finish as Anisimova stuns Osaka
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