Naomi Osaka has stunned the tennis world after taking to social media to announce that she's expecting her first child in 2023. The huge news comes just three days after the Japanese star pulled out of the Australian Open, in a move that left fans shattered.
The four-time major winner's withdrawal led to speculation that she might be set to pull the pin on her tennis career, but the 25-year-old insisted she was looking forward to returning after she becomes a mum. Osaka revealed her pregnancy news after posting a message alongside photo of what appeared to be a pregnancy scan on her social media accounts.
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"Can't wait to get back on the court but here's a little life update for 2023," she wrote. "I know that I have so much to look forward to in the future, one thing I'm looking forward to is for my kid to watch one of my matches and tell someone, 'that's my mom', haha.'"
The news comes five days after another former world No.1, retired Australian great and reigning Australian Open champion Ash Barty, also announced she and her husband Garry Kissick were expecting their first child. The tennis world was quick to congratulate Osaka on her momentous news.
Naomi Osaka plans to return to tennis in 2024
Osaka initially failed to provide a reason for her Australian Open withdrawal, fuelling rumours that she may be contemplating an early retirement or at least more time away from the sport after a difficult few years years. She took a mental health break from the sport after sitting out the French Open in 2021, later revealing she'd been struggling with depression and anxiety for a number years.
However, the two-time Australian Open champion revealed that she intends to Melbourne Park in 2024. "2023 will be a year that'll be full of lessons for me and I hope I'll see you guys in the start of the next one cause I'll be at Aus 2024," said Osaka, who's also a double winner of the US Open.
Several injuries have also plagued Osaka over the last two years and she has subsequently fallen down the rankings. The Japanese superstar hasn't played since withdrawing from the second round in Tokyo last September with abdominal pains.
She has won just one completed match since last May, losing in the first round of her previous three events, including the US Open. Along with her Australian Open titles she has also won the US Open twice. Her last victory came when Daria Saville retired hurt with an ACL injury after just one game in Tokyo.
The superstar, who is in a relationship with rapper Cordae, added in her post: "The past few years have been interesting to say the least. But I find that it's the most challenging times in life that may be the most fun.
"These few months away from the sport has really given me a new love and appreciation for the game I've dedicated my life to. I realise that life is so short and I don't take any moments for granted, everyday is a new blessing and adventure. I knew that I have so much to look forward to in the future."
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