Naomi Osaka Announces Return to Tennis in 2024

by Xara Aziz
YouTube via ESPN

Naomi Osaka has just announced she will return to the sport of tennis in 2024.

In an interview with ESPN Wednesday, the 25-year-old new mother said that she’s excited to make a triumphant return.

“It’s definitely way more tournaments than I used to play,” Osaka said. “So, I think some people will be happy with that. I think it’s because I realized that I don’t know how the beginning of the year is going to go for me. 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.”

The former world No. 1 tennis player recently welcomed a baby girl to the world in July with her boyfriend, rapper Cordae.

Osaka has not played since September 2022, when she performed at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo. Moving forward, she says she plans to play in 2024 for the Australian Open, a tournament she has already won twice.

The Japanese tennis sensation further added that taking a break from tennis made her miss it.

“I’ve been watching matches and I’m like, ‘I wish I was playing too,’” Osaka said. “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.”

In 2021, Osaka decided to step away from competitive tennis following struggles with mental health. In one incident, she was seen visibly distraught while speaking to the press at a mandatory news conference at Roland Garros.

She would later pull out of the French Open that same year, citing she suffered “long bouts of depression” since her first major championship win in 2018.

“I feel like I am someone that’s learning all the time. Obviously, I learned a lot from the talk as I was talking,” Osaka said. “I would say my role is just raising awareness and letting people know that they’re not alone.”

She continued: “Physical pain and mental pain are sort of the same to me. We have doctors for physical health but when we talk about mental health it’s not as well received, so just raising awareness on that.”

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