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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Wednesday March 23, 2022

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka is ready to move forward after a difficult moment at Indian Wells last week.

Photo Source: Getty

Naomi Osaka had an extremely difficult and emotional experience at Indian Wells when she was heckled by a fan during her second-round match with Veronika Kudermetova.

Tennis Express

But the four-time Grand Slam champion vows not to let it get her down. After her 6-3, 6-4 victory over Astra Sharma on Wednesday at the Miami Open, Osaka told reporters that she’ll be ready if she ever gets heckled again.

“I think for me the situation in Indian Wells, I've kind of thought back on it,” Osaka said. “I realize, like, I've never been heckled. I've been booed, but not like a direct yell-out kind of thing. It kind of took me out of my element. I feel like I'm prepared for it now. I was kind of bracing myself before the match to just like know that's a thing that could happen now.

“Yeah, I think I just needed to change my mindset a little.”

Better Late than Never - Osaka Working with a Psychologist

Osaka, who set a second-round clash (on Thursday) with No.13-seeded Angelique Kerber, says she has recently made the decision to talk a psychologist, and it is helping her already.

“I don't know if I'm allowed to say this, but I finally started talking to a therapist after Indian Wells. It only took like a year after French Open,” she said. “Yeah, I don't know, she kind of like told me strategies and stuff. I realize how helpful it is.”

Osaka was reluctant to start using a psychologist, because she tends to internalize, but she says advice from her sister, Mari, and her coach, Wim Fissette, helped her take the step.

“Honestly because my sister kind of, like, seemed very concerned for me,” she said. “I don't know. Like I feel like I've been trying a lot of different things because I tend to internalize things, and I also want to do everything by myself. Wim kind of put it in a really good way. He was like, You hire a coach for tennis, for fitness. The mind is such a big thing. If you can, like, get a professional to help you out .5 percent, that alone is worth it.”

Osaka on Barty’s Retirement: I think She Can Leave with No Regrets

Osaka also talked about the surprise retirement of World No.1 Ash Barty, saying that she loved watching the Aussie play, and adding that she admires the fact that Barty has gone out on top.

“I feel, like, really happy for her,” she said. “I know last year was quite tough. She didn't really go home at all. I think that certainly took a toll. But it was also really inspiring to watch how dedicated she was that entire year. I think she can leave with no regrets.

“That's something I feel like she was super amazing for the sport, for me in particular. I just really loved watching her. I think what she did was ideal. I think it's cool to, like, leave the game when you're No. 1. You feel like you have nothing left to prove, you feel like you accomplished everything that you wanted to.”


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