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Editor's Note: On Wednesday morning, Danilovic withdrew from the US Open due to "a medical reason," per the tournament. Danilovic later revealed she was suffering from a non-COVID related viral illness.

NEW YORK—Most players will tell you that the key to winning tennis is enjoying the points playing out on court. In this respect, Olga Danilovic is no different, but the rising Serbian hotshot tacks on another criterion as she prepares to take on defending champion Naomi Osaka.

“Whenever I feel completely myself on the court,” she explained after knocking out Alycia Parks in her US Open debut, “that’s when I’m at my best.”

Danilovic was unapologetically herself in press, interrupting an answer to assure me that my hair was, indeed, sufficiently tousled, and later let out an exasperated sigh when thinking back on the so-called bubble life that kept her and mother Svetlana hotelbound at Wimbledon.

“She was telling me, ‘I can’t move!’ and I was like, ‘Ok, welcome aboard because that’s the bubble!’”

Now enjoying the relative freedom of New York, the 20-year-old daughter of basketball legend Predrag Danilovic has continued a summer of unrestricted tennis. It began with back-to-back quarterfinal appearances in Budapdest and Palermo, and then through qualifying at Flushing Meadows, where Danilovic has unleashed much of the potential she first showed as a teenager.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize just how tough it is to pass through qualies because it’s the best players of the world right now playing here, and in qualies you’re playing three extra matches every day.”

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WATCH: Danilovic made the first of back-to-back WTA quarterfinals in Budapest earlier this summer.

The first player born in the new millennium to win a WTA title in 2018, Danilovic was frank in assessing what followed earlier this season.

“I had a big up and then I had a big down,” the affable youngster admitted after reaching the second round of the Australian Open. “I’m proud of myself after having a really tough year behind me. I’m in a much better place, and that’s helping me go up again with my game, with my confidence and everything I’m doing.”

A lot of that work is done under the watchful eye of 20-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic, who invited Danilovic to train at his eponymous academy and was on hand cheer her through her maiden Grand Slam main draw in Melbourne.

“I think we all know that he’s mentally, the greatest ever,” she said. “Of course, his playing is great, but his mental game is something different. We talked about that a lot, the importance of being present and being in the moment. Just enjoy and fight until the end. Those kinds of things sound really simple, but that’s what you need to have.”

Danilovic needed all her mental strength to withstand a wild week in Flushing Meadows, first weathering heat and humidity before lightning delayed her final round with Caroline Dolehide late into Friday evening.

I think we all know that he’s mentally, the greatest ever. Of course, his play is great, but his mental game is something different. We talked about that a lot, the importance of being present and being in the moment. Just enjoy and fight until the end. Those kinds of things sound really simple, but that’s what you need to have. Olga Danilovic on Novak Djokovic

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“Right as we came onto the court there was a thunderstorm and lightning, so we went right back in and had to wait until 7:30,” she recalled on Monday, “so it’s never easy to go back and forth like that. That’s why I’m very pleased with myself because I was able to keep calm in those moments just be focused on forehands and backhands, not the things I cannot control.

“I would love to be able to control the weather,” she adds with a wry smile. “That would be amazing, but I can’t!”

With the elements temporarily at bay, Danilovic made the most of her match against Parks, holding off the American’s record-tying 139 m.p.h. serve to book a second-round clash with Osaka.

“I was just trying to see the opportunities when she served because we all saw that she could serve amazingly, and then just to be focused on my serve, so I’d know when to attack.”

Osaka, the defending champion, kicked off her title defense with a thunderous win over Marie Bouzkova under the Arthur Ashe Stadium lights, and is no stranger to the big-stage pressure that Danilovic will experience for the first time.

“I’m playing tennis, and playing for these kinds of moments,” she reasoned. “I’m just going to enjoy because I’ve already done a good job here. For sure, I’m going to try and play my game, be myself and push to my limits, and we’ll see what happens.”

US Open fans are about to be introduced to the inimitable Olga Danilovic, and it's unlikely to be an experience they’ll soon forget.