- Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka will make a tennis comeback in 2024 at the Australian Open
- Her plan is to play in more tennis events than she played in the past
- Her time off tennis has made her realize she is so much in love with the game
Former world No.1 Naomi Osaka will make a tennis comeback in 2024 at the Australian Open in Melbourne, she announced on the sidelines of the US Open 2023 in New York.
Her plan is to play in more tennis events than she played in the past. The four-time Grand Slam champion hasn’t played much of tennis since August 2021 when she took a hiatus citing depression.
Subsequently, her return in 2022 left her with a lot of frustration as she failed to clinch any Grand Slam and victory in Masters events.
While many expected Osaka to reinvent herself at this year’s Australian Open, she announced that she would be away because she was at the time pregnant.
She delivered in July and she is enjoying her new motherhood journey with her fiancée rapper Cordae.
Since losing in the first round of the US Open in 2022, Osaka hasn’t participated in any professional matches.
However, returning to Flushing Meadows made her feel great and all she is thinking about is her comeback.
“For me coming back here, it means a lot. This room, in particular. There were some tears shed. A lot. 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,” she said in an emotive tone.
Being out of action feels strange to her, especially missing the 2023 Australian Open. She implores that it was the hardest hit she took because it was the first time in her tennis career that she missed the tournament.
Nevertheless, it is an interesting phase which she is learning from and she is entertaining the possibility of playing tennis to her late 30s like Serena Williams and her sister Venus Williams.
One thing for sure is that her time off tennis has increased her love for the racket and she is now ready to play for as long as she can because tennis is a huge part of her life.
She says her plan to play more tournaments starting in 2024 is good news to her fans. The rationale behind this decision is to ensure that she regains her form after over a year off the court.
Osaka is aware that it takes more than one match to ease up which is why playing in more tournaments helps her build her portfolio afresh.
She discounted retirement claims in March upon the news of her motherhood journey. The 25-year-old Japanese player said that her time in tennis is far from over.
Amid her imminent comeback, she is still grinding hard on her mental wellness advocacy, especially for tennis players and other athletes.
She has in the past criticized the media and social media users for being insensitive to tennis players which pushed her and many other tennis players through mental struggles.
Osaka took a surprise vacation to Greece after publicly announcing her mental struggles in 2021. She said that she was fighting depression and some time off tennis would be good for her.