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Osaka: Gratitude Gave Me Perspective

Fear made Naomi Osaka apprehensive about doing press conferences.

Gratitude for the opportunity to play in front of fans during a tie of global chaos has infused the US Open champion with a fresh perspective.

More: Osaka Rallies Past Gauff

Firing near-flawless service games in the final set, Osaka rallied past Coco Gauff 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 into the Cincinnati round of 16 today.

Afterward, Osaka opened up on why she grew emotional and shed tears in her pre-tournament presser when asked hen asked how she balances her media platform and responsibilities with sponsorship obligations.

Osaka said fear is the main reason for her trepidation over traditional post-match press conferences. Osaka has met all of her media obligations in Cincinnati this week after announce she was skipping mandatory post-match press conferences at Roland Garros.

"I was wondering why was I so affected, I guess, like what made me not want to do media in the first place," Osaka told the media in Cincinnati. "Then I was thinking, I'm wondering if I was scared because, like, sometimes I would see headlines of like players losing and then the headline the next day would be like a collapse or they're not that great anymore."

Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, whose father is Haitian and mother is Japanese, pledged to donate her Western & Southern Open prize money to relief efforts in Haiti after the country was struck by a 7.2 earthquake on Saturday deepening her desire to make a deep run in Cincinnati and arming her with appreciation for her opportunity.

"I was thinking me waking up every day, for me, I should feel like I'm winning. You know, like the choice to go out there and play, to go see fans that people come out and watch me play, that itself is an accomplishment," Osaka said. "And I'm not sure when along the way I started desensitizing that. Like it started not being like an accomplishment for me. So I felt like I was very ungrateful on that fact.

"And then, I don't know. Like I think definitely this whole COVID thing was really stressful with the bubbles and not seeing people, not having, like, interactions. I guess seeing the state of the world, like how everything is in Haiti, how everything is in Afghanistan right now, is definitely really crazy, and for me to just be hitting a tennis ball in the United States right now and have people come and watch me play is, I don't know, like I would want to be myself in his situation rather than anyone else in the world."

Photo credit: Getty