Naomi Osaka has said meeting pop superstar Beyonce was a real “wow” moment and offered her a reminder of her own impact as a tennis player.
Two-time grand slam champion Osaka, who will be defending her Australian Open title later this month, met Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z while still “depressed” after losing in the fourth round at the US Open.
“I met Beyonce and Jay-Z during the off-season. She just smelled expensive and beautiful and she was soft and she hugged me,” Osaka told the WTA website. “I was like, ‘this is what heaven is’.”
The meeting came in the aftermath of Osaka’s defeat at Flushing Meadows to Belinda Bencic, which ended her first grand slam title defence.
“She was talking to me and she said she was proud of me. I thought, wow, that actually was a really important moment,” said the 22-year-old world No 3, who stunned Serena Williams in the 2018 US Open final.
“I felt really depressed after I lost my match, but I’m thinking about the impact that tennis players – I don’t think we know, I don’t think we’re 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.
“There are some things that I have to remember are out of my control, especially past events. So I just have to put myself in a position to not regret anything.”
Osaka hired a new coach in the off-season, Wim Fissette, having split with Jermaine Jenkins following the US Open, and said she was raring to go after her 2019 season was abruptly cut short by injury at the WTA Finals in Shenzhen.
She is set to play her first match of the year at the Brisbane International against Maria Sakkari on Tuesday.
“I just feel like for me having positive energy and having a clean mental slate is really important, so that’s what I did this entire off-season,” she said.
“I mean, I trained, but I wasn’t super pressed on anything. That’s just something I had to learn throughout the entire year.
“I feel like 2019 had so many trials and errors and all in all it felt like a very long year, but now that I’m here it feels very compact. It’s learning about myself more.”
Updated: January 6, 2020 09:46 AM