She didn't advance past the fourth round in any of the four grand slam tournaments, including first-round exits at the French Open and now the U.S. Open.
"He talks to me a lot about positivity because I tend to be really negative on myself and to the point where I don't really know what I'm doing anymore", Osaka said. "I mean, of course, you have always the goal for years to go there and to reach the top, but then if you are there, you actually don't know what to expect, and then it's just the process". You never know what's happen.
"I just want to play good". In 2016, Kerber broke through to the top of tennis in a spectacular way.
World number one Karolina Pliskova, bidding to back up her lofty status with a maiden first Grand Slam title, was able to make a winning start, courtesy also of playing under the roof on Ashe.
Perhaps even more shocking from a statistical standpoint is that Kerber went 41-14 against members of the WTA's Top 50 last season. "She served well, and she was going for it". That's a numerical way of saying that Kerber has lost the ability to beat anybody good. Shortly after play commenced at 11 a.m., matches were delayed. It's hard not to wonder if Kerber is carrying some type of ailment that she's not talking about to press, but she downplayed that narrative today in press.
"She's really matured a lot and she has a better balance of playing the right shot at the right time", he said. Keys agreed: "Truly it was the loudest court I've ever played on in my life".
But not enough to knock her to the sidelines, and not enough for her to use it as an excuse.
"But for me it was for sure not the best day and not the best match".
"Well, there was a little bit of a glimpse back in 19 - no, I'm just kidding", she joked, when asked to pinpoint the match that gave her that confidence.
"I'm still the same player and the same person", said Kerber.
Touted by no less an authority than Serena Williams as a rising superstar, Osaka bludgeoned Kerber into submission with her forehand. She believes that with matches will come form, so she continues to play despite her struggles.
"I felt the same type of nerves come up, 4-1 in this match, so I wanted to tell myself just to keep playing how I was playing and not let the nerves get over me as much as past year", she said.
Kerber, who despite her poor form held the number one spot until Wimbledon, will now fall outside the top 10.
Watching Kerber hit a return into the net to end the match, the unseeded Osaka did none of the above.