Naomi Osaka Is Planning Her Return to Tennis 2 Months After Giving Birth

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Naomi Osaka is ready to serve up more success on the tennis court nearly two months after welcoming her first baby.

“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play,” Osaka, 25, told ESPN on Wednesday, September 6, of her sports schedule for 2024. “So, I think some people will be happy with that.”

Osaka further teased that her games will include matches “down under,” seemingly referring to the Australian Open, before explaining why she set a rigorous training plan.

“I think it’s because I realized that I don’t know how the beginning of the year is going to go for me,” she told the outlet. “I don’t know the level of play and I think I have to ease into it. So at the very least, I’m going to set myself up for a very good end of the year.”


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Osaka hasn’t played in a professional match since September 2022. She announced in January that she and her boyfriend, rapper Cordae, were expecting their first baby. Their daughter, Shai, was born in July.

While Osaka has enjoyed soaking up all her newborn’s milestones, she told ESPN that she “definitely” misses playing tennis.

“I’ve been watching matches and kinda wishing that I was playing too, but I’m in this position now and I’m very grateful,” she said on Wednesday. “I really love my daughter a lot, but I think it really fueled a fire in me.”

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Osaka later teased her intense training workouts during an interview with Entertainment Tonight.

“Honestly, I’ve been athletic or been playing sports since I was 3, so it’s like a part of my life,” she said at the Victoria’s Secret red carpet event on Wednesday night. “I went to the [US] Open earlier today and it just brought me so much inspiration. So I’m very excited. It’s made me a lot more grateful. Just a lot of little things I took for granted, now I’m kind of looking at it and since I can’t play competitively right now, it’s really making me itch to come back.”

Osaka, who has won four Grand Slam championships in her career, previously took a step back from the game in 2021 to prioritize her mental health.

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“Life is a journey,” she penned in a personal essay for TIME magazine in July 2021. “In the past few weeks, my journey took an unexpected path but one that has taught me so much and helped me grow. I learned a couple of key lessons. Lesson one: You can never please everyone. … When I said I needed to miss French Open press conferences to take care of myself mentally, I should have been prepared for what unfolded.”

She continued at the time: “I always try to push myself to speak up for what I believe to be right, but that often comes at a cost of great anxiety. I feel uncomfortable being the spokesperson or face of athlete mental health as it’s still so new to me and I don’t have all the answers. I do hope that people can relate and understand it’s OK to not be OK, and it’s OK to talk about it. There are people who can help, and there is usually light at the end of any tunnel.”

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