Naomi Osaka announces her long-awaited return to tennis after year out to have a baby… as the two-time Grand Slam champion reveals she will play ‘way more tournaments’ than before
- Naomi Osaka should enjoy a return to Melbourne – where she won back in 2021
- The 25-year-old has not played on the WTA tennis tour since September of 2022
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Naomi Osaka has confirmed she will play at the Australian Open in the new year ahead of her long-awaited return to the court.
Osaka returned to Flushing Meadows Wednesday afternoon to speak at a mental health forum at the US Open and spoke to ESPN, where she divulged her imminent on-court plans.
A two-time champion at the Grand Slam, Osaka has not made an on-court appearance since September 2022. Though, appearing in Melbourne at the beginning of 2024 will be something of a happy return for the ’19 and ’21 champ.
When asked on ESPN if she would be playing at the Aussie grand slam, Osaka confirmed as much.
‘It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play,’ Osaka said of her upcoming schedule. ‘So I think some people will be happy with that.’
Naomi Osaka returned to the US Open Wednesday afternoon to speak at a mental health forum
The Japanese-American is a two-time Australian Open champion, winning in 2019 and 2021
The 25-year-old shared a series of photos and videos of her working out after giving birth
Explaining why her plans to play more exist, Osaka detailed it was due to uncertainty as to how she will perform post-childbirth.
‘Honestly I think it’s because I realized I don’t know how the beginning of the year is going to go for me,’ she told the four-letter network.
‘I’ve been watching matches and 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.’
She gave birth to her daughter Shai with her American rapper boyfriend Cordae in July.
‘I don’t know the level of play and I think I kind of have to ease into it. At the very least I’m going to set myself up for a very good end of the year.’
Osaka withdrew from the 2021 French Open, revealing that she has previously struggled with depression after her refusal to give post-match interviews had been criticized.
In January she announced she was pregnant before revealing in June said she was expecting a girl.
She has been in a relationship with the Grammy-nominated Cordae since 2019. Last week, Osaka shared photos and clips of her working out.