Naomi Osaka update delights tennis fans amid doubts surrounding future
The four-time grand slam champion isn't ready to give up the sport.
Naomi Osaka has announced she is eager for a tennis return after taking time away from the sport as she expects the birth of her first child. Earlier this year, Osaka caused an almighty stir when she announced her withdrawal from the Australian Open without giving a reason.
Only a few days later Osaka delighted her fans after the 25-year-old announced she was pregnant with her first child. The four-time grand slam champion hadn't played tennis since the Pan Pacific Open in September and had been travelling with her rapper boyfriend Cordae.
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On March 22, Osaka posted her first photo of herself in Japan with a baby bump. And now, in amazing news for tennis fans, Osaka has revealed her desire to compete for another grand slam title.
Speaking to WBS in Japan, Osaka said she hasn't lost her competitive drive as she plans a return in 2024. "I definitely plan to come back...it's kinda of like a break a little bit, but also I feel very competitive still, and I really want to win more slams," she said.
Osaka has won four grand slams, two Aus Open and two US Open titles, and reached the World No.1 ranking in 2019. The 25-year-old is one of the most marketable athletes in the world and is one of the biggest names in tennis.
Tennis fans were absolutely thrilled to hear Osaka's encouraging words as she rediscovers her passion for the sport. Her return would only bolster a burgeoning WTA roster with players such as Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, Coco Gauff and Elena Rybakina taking over the sport.
Nice to hear nice news. Would love for Angelique & Ashleigh to return. Also for Garbine to return to the top tier. ‘21 WTA Finals title, seems so distant from today.
— ecojag (@ecojag) March 28, 2023
that is amazing news ❤️
— Kasia Koczułap (ona/jej) (@KasiaKoczulap) March 28, 2023
She is coming everyone…enjoy the 2023 season before she takes over again😎🥳
— Coolbananas (@cro818) March 28, 2023
Naomi Osaka eyeing Australian Open comeback
Earlier this year, Osaka told her fans that she wanted to play tennis again so her child could recognise what the grand slam champion did for a living. And the two-time Australian Open winner was targeting a return at Melbourne Park next year.
"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.'
"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. Love you all infinitely." Her post was accompanied by what appeared to be a pregnancy scan.
Osaka acknowledged her courageous mental health battle away from the court in the last few years, before admitting her break had revitalised her vigour for tennis. "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," she wrote.
"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."
Osaka will be hoping to imitate some of the incredible feats of players of the past in returning to the game. Serena Williams defeated her big sister Venus while pregnant with daughter Olympia to claim the 2017 Australian Open title.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) March 21, 2023
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