Naomi Osaka’s opener: A win, flowers for her mother and an awkward 50-odd word on-court interview

Shahida Jacobs
Naomi Osaka in action

She literally and figuratively did her talking on court and for now that is all that matters to Naomi Osaka as she opened her French Open campaign with a solid victory.

The build-up to Roland Garros has been dominated by the four-time Grand Slam winner’s decision not to do any press conferences at this year’s clay-court Grand Slam to protect her mental health, saying players being asked to speak to the media after defeats is “kicking a person while they’re down”.

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Her racket did the talking during her 6-4, 7-6 (7-4) win over Patricia Maria Tig in one hour and 47 minutes on Court Philippe Chatrier as she broke twice in the first set – although the Romanian also managed to break once – and then eased over the line via the tie-breaker.

After making it 15 consecutive Grand Slam wins following her 2020 US Open and 2021 Australian Open successes, she was given flowers for mother as it is Mother’s Day in France before doing a short interview with former French player Fabrice Santoro.

However, the interview was neither here nor there as they talked about Court Philippe Chatrier before describing her performance on clay as a “work in progress” with the world No 2 uttering less than 100 words.

“I’m very glad that I won. It is a very beautiful court,” she said. “I’ve only played two matches (on Philippe Chatrier). One was before the roof and one is right now so hopefully I can keep it going.”

She added: “My movement on clay is a work in progress. If I keep playing more matches, hopefully it will get better.”

Up next is Ana Bogdan, who defeated Italian lucky loser Elisabetta Cocciaretto 6-1, 6-3.

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