Naomi Osaka Says She Is 'Really Excited' About Return to Tennis Next Month in Australia

The four-time majors champion, who welcomed her daughter in July, is set to play in the Brisbane International in December

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Naomi Osaka is ready for action!

The former No. 1 women’s tennis player — who gave birth to her daughter, Shai, in July —  says she is pumped for her comeback.

“I am really excited about getting back out on court and competing," Osaka, 26, told the WTA Tour.

The tennis star will compete at the Brisbane International, a WTA 500 event that begins on Dec. 31.

"I always love starting my season in Brisbane and can’t wait to return,” Osaka said. "The Brisbane International is such a great tournament and will set me up for a brilliant comeback this summer.”

Related: Naomi Osaka Opens Up About Missing Tennis and Feeling ‘Lonely’ During Her Pregnancy

The athlete grabbed headlines after she announced in September that she would play the Australian Open, her first major since stepping away from the game last year before welcoming her first child with rapper Cordae.

The Brisbane International comes two weeks before the Australian Open starts on Jan. 14, 2024.

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Osaka, a two-time winner of the Australian Open and a two-time winner of the US Open, hasn’t played tennis since last September’s Toray Pan Pacific Open when she announced she was stepping away from the game during her pregnancy.

But the new mom has seemingly missed the competition that comes with being on the court, telling ESPN at the US Open this past September that she had the “itch to want to play again.”

“I feel a lot of joy coming back here. It’s kind of like seeing an old friend I haven’t seen in a long time.” Osaka told ESPN's Chris McKendry about returning to the court. "I went through the little players' tunnel, but obviously, I'm not playing. It made me itch to want to play again, but I guess I'll have to wait until next year."

Related: Naomi Osaka Says She Had to Fight the ‘Thought That I Won’t Be a Good Mom’

In a separate ESPN interview, Osaka opened up about feeling “lonely” during her pregnancy and announced her plans to return to competitive tennis at the Australian Open in January, which she won in both 2019 and 2021.

"I realized that I don't know how the beginning of the year is going to go for me," she said. "I don't know the level of play, and I think I have to ease into it. At the very least, I'm going to set myself up for a very good end of the year."

She added about her feelings sitting along the sidelines: “I'm like, 'I kind of wish I was playing too,' but I'm in this position now and I'm very grateful. I really love my daughter a lot, but I think it really fueled a fire in me."

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