Beyonce said she was proud of me, says inspired Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)
Naomi Osaka (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images) /

Naomi Osaka will line up at the Brisbane International to start the new WTA Tour season with a new coach, a fresh mindset and some inspiration from Beyonce.

A field containing plenty of stars will take to the court at the Brisbane International, but Naomi Osaka, one of the top players involved, felt starstruck herself during an offseason meeting with Beyonce.

Osaka will take on the likes of Ash BartyKarolina Piskova, Elina Svitolina, Petra Kvitova and Angelique Kerber, plus Americans Sofia Kenin and Madison Keys, at the WTA Premier event.

The tournament starts on Monday and is part of the first week of the 2020 season on the WTA Tour, with the ASB Classic, which includes Serena Williams, and Shenzhen Open also taking place.

After an up-and-down year in 2019, Osaka has an even bigger 12 months ahead of her as she looks to reclaim the world number one ranking, add to her major tally of two and also impress in the Olympic Games, which will take place in her home country of Japan.

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A competitive competition in Brisbane will begin for her against Maria Sakkari in the first round.

Before she returned to the court for a new campaign, Osaka discussed her offseason, which included hiring a new coach in Wim Fissette, as well as changing her mindset and training methods, per WTA Tour.

But she showed most excitement when she talked about meeting singer and actress Beyonce.

Beyonce (Photo by Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney) /

Osaka had been down about losing in the fourth round of the US Open to Belinda Bencic, but took inspiration from her chat with Beyonce, which helped her put the tournament in perspective.

Talking to WTA Insider, Osaka explained she had realised over the course of the offseason, as well as through Beyonce’s words, how much of a platform tennis stars have following the huge global coverage she got for consoling upset teenager Coco Gauff in the aftermath their third-round meeting.

"“I met Beyonce and Jay Z during the offseason. She just smelled expensive and beautiful and she was soft and she hugged me. I was like, this is what heaven is!“She was talking to me and she said she was proud of me. I thought, wow, that actually was a really important moment.“I felt really depressed after I lost my match, but I’m thinking about the impact that tennis players [can have], I don’t think we know. I don’t think we are aware of all the good that we can do.“That was kind of an eye-opening thing. Even though it was one of my worst points, to lose, I wanted to be a defending champion and I lost early, there’s still something really good that came out of that.“For me, New York is sort of classified as the Coco thing. It was so weird because it felt beyond tennis. People were talking to me that were not tennis heads.”"

Naomi Osaka feels refreshed after taking some time out to recover from her shoulder injury and said she took the first vacation of her life in the offseason.

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She added:”I didn’t play for most of November, which was a first for me. I’ve never really taken that long of a break before. But I think it was really necessary because my shoulder was kind of worn down.

“I think that worked out really well because I don’t feel anything in my shoulder and I like to think that I’m playing well right now. I guess I’ll find that out after I play my match.

“I just feel like for me having positive energy and having a clean mental slate is really important. It’s learning about myself more. For me the key is not listening to outside noise too much, trusting myself and trusting my abilities and going out there and fighting for every point.”

An eventful session with reporters also had Osaka talking jovially about a “near-death” experience she had on holiday and the 22-year-old saying she had sleepless nights thinking about missing the chance to face Serena Williams in a US Open final rematch.

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Naomi Osaka was on form off the court and now her fans will be hoping she is equally entertaining on it as another long and crucial season begins in Brisbane, where world number one Barty will have the home support.